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The Tragedy of Manuel Azana, by Frank Sed- 
wick, is the first biography ever to appear in 
English of the man who was the most important 
leader of the Spanish Republic. 

A member of that group of writers-turned- 
statesmen on whom, in large part, the structure 
of the Republic rested, Azana like his fellow 
moderates Miguel de Unamuno, Jose Ortega y 
Gasset, and Salvador de Madariaga could 
not, in the end, withstand the steady, eroding 
pressure that came from the Left and the sudden 
assault from the Right that ultimately, in a 
storm of civil war, destroyed their hopes for a 
free and democratic Spain. 

Born in Castile in 1880, Azana had 
achieved fame as a literary critic and playwright 
before entering politics. In 1931, he became 
both Minister of War in the first Republican 
cabinet and Prime Minister under President 
Alcala Zamora, a position that enabled him to 
press for a number of severely needed social 
and military reforms. Following the victory of 
the Popular Front in 1936, he became Prime 
Minister again; and subsequently, in May of 
that year, after the ousting of Alcala Zamora, 
(continued on back flap) 

The lithographs reproduced on the dust jacket and end sheets are by 
Aiarti Bos. That on the dust jacket is entitled "Concentration Camp" 
And is from the Ohio Wesleyan University Spanish Civil WHY Collec- 
tion. That on the end sheets is entitled "Spain, 1936-39" and is from 
the collection of the author. 

9^-08 Sttt 64-4268? 


The tragedy of Manuel Azana 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

and the Pate of the Spanish Republic 

/".. V 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

and the Fate of the Spanish Republic 
By Frank Sedwlck 

Ohio State University Press 

Copyright 1963 by the Ohio State University Press 

All Rights Reserved 

Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 63-15355 

To Alice 

sine qua nihil 


PROFESSOR SEDWICK'S life of Azafia is a welcome addition to the already 
impressive corpus of scholarly hooks published in the United States on 
the Spanish Republic and the Civil War which consumed it. Azafia 
was one of the founders and by far the most significant of the leaders 
of the Republic. The Republic lived while he lived, and when he 
died it died. 

I had known Azafia for years before he became a national, indeed 
a world figure. He was then secretary of the Ateneo, an honorary and 
elective post. He already had his typical cara de pocos amigos, his face 
of (a man with) but few friends, as we say in Spain, meaning by it 
not that such a man lacks, but that he does not want, many friends. 
He was standoffish, short-tempered, and, if by no means taciturn, 
certainly not talkative. His countenance was complex: the lower part 
of the face, sulky; but in his eyes and eyebrows there lurked an almost 
pathetic appeal for sympathy. 

This enigmatic facade covered a warm and even affectionate heart, 
slow to open out to others less out of intellectual superiority than out 
of downright shyness. Whether this feature had grown in him from 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

his consciousness of being less than handsome (though he was too 
intelligent to strike one as plain) or for some other reason, the fact is 
that the warmth in him was of all his secrets the one he tried hardest 
to guard but succeeded least in guarding. 

This explains that a man with a face of few friends could have so 
many. Of course he was chary of the profuse forms of friendliness of 
which Spaniards, for all their vaunted introversion, are rather prodigal. 
No smiles, no shouts of pleasure, no embracements. But if he was 
sparing in the forms of friendship, he was generous in the substance 
of it. 

He was very much a Castilian, straight up as well as straight, and 
too fond of liberty to sacrifice even a scrap of it to mere comfort or 
well-being. In those early days of our acquaintance, he was a Re- 
formist, a follower of Don Melquiades Alvarez, the Asturian republican 
who was leading a clever maneuver to bring the moderate and free- 
thinking republicans into the fold of the monarchy, in exchange for 
guarantees of a progressive policy on the part of the Crown. Azana 
seemed to detect in this attitude of his chief a softening of his fighting 
spirit due to a desire to live comfortably, and he uttered this thought 
to me with the utmost contempt. I knew that Don Melquiades, by 
Paris or London standards, lived an almost austere life, and I admired 
the more his Castilian critic born and bred in the tradition of a bread- 
and-water sort of life. 

Azana was very much like a Castilian tree, rather solitary, deep- 
rooted (for water is scarce and hidden below), rough-barked, many- 
branched, but somewhat neglectful and sparing of its foliage, which 
it is apt to think of as too rhetorical and effusive for the bare lands 
and skies of central Spain. And yet, warm and vital within, and ready 
to vibrate in the wind and yield quiet music just for itself and the 
wide space and the sunset. But no birds. 



A pessimist, of course. If Lamennais thought that il faut tin mini- 
mum de bien-etre four la vertu, we are free to think that a minimum 
of rainfall is necessary for optimism. Yellow Spain, two thirds of it, 
including all of Castile, is the driest land in Europe, How could it 
give forth crops of juicy optimists? No. Remember Sancho. "Every 
man is as God made him, and at times worse." That saying, and its 
sudden spurt of pessimism at the end is in fact true to Azafia's own 
style. But then, both Azana and Cervantes were born in Alcala. 

So let us guard against being misled by this or that of his public 
utterances into mistaking Azana for a naive revolutionist who expected 
the millennium to blossom out of his next budget. His disillusionment 
with the Republic ripened at the end of the Civil War, but it is safe 
to surmise that the seed of it was already in him on the very day he 
took office as the first War Minister of the new regime. For a man of 
letters who had never owned a weapon in his life, was not the very 
choice of ministry a sure sign of pessimism? He knew only too well 
that the history of Spain is beset with the same pair of opposites which 
time and again used to occupy Don Quijote's imagination: arms versus 

But in Don Quijote this was just fancy. In Azana, it was stark 
reality. He knew that in Spain the slow growth of institutions had 
always been, is, and shall always be threatened by the military and by 
the militant, who are just another kind of military. And out of aversion 
for the military, he did not perhaps see clearly enough the danger from 
the militant. 

For he made mistakes, of course. Personally, I believe he was wrong 
in ousting Alcala Zamora from the Presidency in connivance with 
Indalecio Prieto. Wrong in substance and wrong in form. For that 
maneuver implied a deed of injustice towards the president and an 
irreparable blow to the stability and good name of the Republic. Of 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

this and of other of his shortcomings, I am fully aware. Yet, since too 
many small men have tried to denigrate him since his death, let one 
man who owed him no allegiance say that Azana was the biggest mind 
and the noblest heart among the leaders of the Republic. 


Oxford, England 
June 19, 1963 


THE SPANISH REPUBLIC of 1931-1939 was a house built mostly upon 
the sand. Its structure rested, in part, on a number of writers converted 
into statesmen ad hoc. Moderates like Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, 
Madariaga, and Azana could not withstand the steady erosion from 
the Left, on top of which came the sudden deluge from the Right. 
After the fanatics of both these extremes had undermined the founda- 
tions, the storm of civil war then demolished the Republican edifice, 
whose exiles are the wreckage that still floats around the world. 

Many of the writer-statesmen disappeared from the Spanish scene 
in the first year of the Civil War. On the last day of 1936, death 
relieved Miguel de Unamuno from further despair of seeing Spaniards 
kill one another. He died in his home in Salamanca. Having moved 
about Europe and South America since 1936 in self-imposed exile, 
Jose Ortega y Gasset returned to Spain in 1945. There he was to live 
ten more years, reconciled to the durability of the Franco state, 
although by no means to its political philosophy. Salvador de Madariaga 
left Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War and never returned, a 
voluntary exile from his native land like numerous other first-class 
Spanish scholars and statesmen, who had good reason to leave. Among 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

those who did not leave was Manuel Azana, twice Prime Minister 
and the last President of the Spanish Republic. Dutifully he remained 
in Spain until the Civil War was irremediably lost for the Republic, 
and then he died obscurely in France in 1940. 

"Why write a book on Azana?" a colleague inquired of me; "Europe 
has forgotten him and America never knew him." Precisely so, and 
all the more reason for light on the life and works of this intellectual, 
this Spanish Kerensky (Azana met Kerensky once in 1931 and was 
unimpressed), who was undoubtedly the principal political figure of 
the Second Spanish Republic, but Spain's most neglected literary per- 
sonality during his productive years as a writer between two World 
Wars. Until now, no one has bothered to study Azana s works to see 
how they reflect the rise and fall of his political star. 

The author is well aware that while some sections of this book may 
be microscopic in their analysis, others are telescopic. To find reliable 
data on Azana was not an easy task; to give complete details on certain 
periods of his life was impossible. The surviving relatives and friends 
of Azana in Spain and in the Americas were co-operative, but: (1) 
Most of Azanas own generation is dead. Only one childhood com- 
panion, now an octogenarian, remains alive. (2) Azana was, by nature, 
a solitary. Few people really knew him well. (3) Although Azana 
died in 1940, neither his complete memoirs nor his complete works 
have yet been published. (4) From the lips of the still-embittered 
exiles from Spain, facts are distorted by passions. (5) The Civil War 
generations still in Spain are reluctant to comment freely on pre-1939 
events or personalities. (6) Many of the Republic's documents were 
scattered to the four winds in the chaos of defeat. More important, the 
post-1939 Spanish government has either confiscated the remaining 
documentary and other factual data or has in many subtle ways in- 
timidated librarians and custodians to withhold such references from 


writers lacking an established proper point of view vis-a-vis the regime. 
These difficulties become particularly apparent to an objective biogra- 
pher of any Republican personality, and especially to the biographer 
of Manuel Azafia, who was the man most hated by the rebellious and 
still-governing Right wing. 

It is with gratitude to the American Philosophical Society (Penrose 
fund) and to Ohio Wesleyan University, for their research and travel 
funds, that I present the first sketch in English of this unknown man, 
imperfect though it may be. Moreover I hope that my detachment 
from specific religious and political affiliations may have led to an 
interpretation of the causes of the Spanish Civil War free from the 
usual biases, though possibly for this very reason the book may not 
please most of the people whom it principally concerns Spanish 
Republicans-in-exile, Spanish Francoists, Catholics, Monarchists, Com- 
munists, Anarchists, Socialists, and Azana's surviving relatives in Spain 
and Mexico, some of whom have become my close friends. To the 
latter I can repeat only what I learned from Manuel Azafia: compas- 
sion is not a condiment sprinkled upon justice according to taste and 
circumstance; rather justice is of itself compassionate (else it is not 
justice), and one should hope for no more. 


Rollins College 
Winter Park, Florida 



I Most of a Life, 1880-1926 3 

II Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 37 

III The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 83 

IV The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back, Apotheosis of Azana. 141 

V The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 163 

VI Exile and Death, 1939-1940 213 
Epilogue 247 
Appendix 251 
Bibliography 261 
Index 283 


Frontispiece: Lithograph portrait of Azana by 

Azana in custody on the ship, Barcelona, 1934. 

Victorious arrival of Nationalist troops at 
Puigcerda on the French border, 1939* 

Loyalist refugees from Catalonia entering France 
at Le Perthus, 1939. (facing 

Portrait of Azana with Presidential sash, by Jose 
Maria Lopez Mezquita, now in the possession of 
the Hispanic Society of America, New Ycrk City. (facing 160) 

Battle fronts of the Spanish Civil War. (p a S e 169) 

Main route of the exodus from Catalonia. (page 205) 

Azana, May, 1940, Arcachon, France. 
The grave of Azana at Montauban. 
The author, senora de Azana, and Don Cipriano 
Rivas Cherif, Mexico City, 1959. (facing 2)0) 


Lo que importa es tenet razon, y despues de tener razon, 
importa, casi tanto, saber defenderla; porque seria triste cosa 
que ? teniendo razon, pareciese como si la hubleramos perdido 
a fuerza de palabras locas y de hechos reprobables. 

Manuel Azafia 

The important thing is to he right, and, after heing right, 
it is nearly as important to know how to defend what is right; 
hecause it would he a sad thing if it seemed that we, heing 
right, had lost our rightness hy dint of mad words and re- 
proachahle deeds. 

Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

FLAT on the high plain of Castile lies Alcala de Henares, tethered to 
Madrid by thirty-one kilometers of highway, A sleepy town, just as 
it was a century ago, and physically unimpressive, its historical im- 
portance must be sought down the back streets, a zigzag seldom 
ventured by the few tourists who pause in Alcala en route to Guada- 
lajara. Nowadays Alcala does not even boast a hotel worthy of the 
name, although a good meal can be had at the quaint Hosteria del 
Estudiante. Bugles of the Spanish military detachments stationed in 
Alcala sometimes resound down the arcades that shelter much of the 
main street, while from the sky comes the scream of U.S. jet airplanes 
which have just taken off from the nearby Torrejon air base. But the 
citizens of Alcala remain impassive, like the storks in their rooftop 
nests, secure in the permanence of their ancient town. 

The city which under the Arabs came to be known as Alcala de 
Henares was founded by the Romans as Complutum or Compluvium, 
whose etymology probably has to do with water. The inhabitants are 
still sometimes referred to as complutenses, and the original name of 
the famous University of Alcala was Universidad Complutense, estab- 
lished by the equally famous Cardinal Cisneros in 1508 and closed 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

in 1836 when it gave way to the University of Madrid. Of course 
Alcala has a patron saint. She is the Virgen del Val (contraction of 
voile, or valley), whose supposedly miraculous image appeared in 
1184 on a bank of the Henares river, and part of whose name appears 
though quite unrelated to Alcala in the title of a posthumous and 
unfinished novel by a complutense named Manuel Azana. 

Esteban Azana, father of Manuel, recorded the history of Alcala 
and its people up to 1882 in a work of two volumes which he published 
in that year and entitled Historia de Alcala de Henares (antigua 
Compluto). Ten years earlier, the elder Azana had also founded a 
school for the working class known as the Colegio para Obreros, which 
opened its doors in January of 1873. Not because of a scarcity of 
students (there were about 200), but through the apathy of its pro- 
fessors, the school lasted only two years. Because of these and many 
other services unselfishly rendered to Alcala by the civic-minded 
Esteban Azana, a street was named after him, the Calle de Don 
Esteban Azana. Even though this street was not named for the son, 
but for the father, who died January 10, 1890, since the Spanish 
Civil War the street has had to revert to its original designation of 
Calle Nueva. 

Like most quiet Spanish towns, Alcala does explode once daily 
during the early evening hours with cafe life and strollers of every 
description, many of them Spanish paratroopers whose oversized black- 
ribboned berets lend color to the noisy scene on the main square. 
Every Spanish town has its main square, and this one is appropriately 
named the Plaza de Cervantes, for Alcala's most famous son is Spam's 
most celebrated writer the creator of Don Quijote, The Plaza de 
Cervantes is not really a square but an unpaved rectangle, with several 
gardens at one extremity and a kiosk at the other, and double rows 
of sycamores standing on the two long Sides like sentinels. These trees 

Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

are the retainers over whdni a monument to Cervantes presides from 
the very center of the dusty court. The inscription on the pedestal 
of the statue could not be simpler: "Cervantes. Ano 1879," Cast in 
Florence, Italy, the statue is reputed to weigh 750 kilos, its bronze 
figure of Cervantes being one and a half times life size. In sixteenths 
century garb, and girt with a sword, the standing figure of Cervantes 
holds a pen in his right hand and a scroll in his left. Eight months 
after the statue was set in place, the reigning monarchs Alfonso XII 
and Maria Cristina visited Alcala on June 8, 1880; and to Estebaft 
Azana, mayor of Alcala, fell the honor of receiving them and pointing 
out the historical sights of the city, including the newly erected monu- 
ment to Cervantes, which arouses so little curiosity nowadays. 

Earlier in that same year of 1880, on January 10, Manuel Azafia 
was born in Alcala, but the previous year saw an event of nearly equal 
import in the life and miracles of the Azana family: to commemorate 
the unveiling of the statue of Cervantes, Esteban Azana published his 
first book. Already a public speaker in his capacity of mayor, the elder 
Azana left his name on what is now a rare tome that bears the sonorous 
title of Memoria de los acuerdos del litre, ayuntamiento de la dudad 
de Alcala de Henares para la erection de un monumento a Miguel de 
Cervantes Saavedra. 1 Without examination of the book, one could 
scarcely guess what it contains: minutes of sessions of the municipal 
government, poems mostly by local poets, and speeches eulogizing 
Cervantes; but mainly it is a history of the city's efforts to erect that 
monument to Cervantes. The long-awaited statue having finally been 
finished and set in place, the town council had asked Esteban Azana 
to edit this book of homage to Cervantes in which th& elder Azana 
himself describes the statue and the ceremonies of its dedication. The 

1 This "book was printed in Alcala de Henares in 1879. One of its original 600 copies 
may be seen in New York City at the library o the Hispanic Society of America. 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

minutes of the September 22, 1879, meeting of the Ayuntamiento 
show that the cost for 600 copies of the book was voted unanimously, 
and that since Azana was chairman of the group, the book was to 
become his literary property. The efforts of Esteban Azana had been 
the chief tour de force in the final acquisition of the monument, which 
he himself unveiled on October 9, 1879, exactly one year after he had 
laid the first stone, and forty-six years after the statue had been first 
planned by the Ayuntamiento in 1833, In the political life of the 
nation, the year 1879 also marked the end of a tumultuous decade of 
abortive liberalism (the First Spanish Republic) and internal strife 
that presaged the national calamities at the end of the century. 

In his speeches Esteban Azana evidenced a certain flair for dramatic 
oratory that was to be reborn with more finesse in Manuel. The elder 
Azana, who frequently signed his papers Esteban Azana y Catarineu 
(Esteban's mother was Catalonian), always gave a good performance, 
notwithstanding a show of modesty and a feigned lack of talent for 
writing or for public speaking. This self -deprecation was merely one 
aspect of his style ("I, without any merit, without scientific knowledge, 
lacking literary forms," etc.), for he really gave evidence of broad 
classical and historical knowledge that belied his lack of a university 
education. If his style was defective in any way, it was because of his 
excessive allusions, but he had a genuine knowledge of Don Quijote, 
an insight which renders less tiresome the otherwise extravagant 
encomium of Cervantes as his city's symbol of greatness. Although he 
was usually speaking as a politician, and moreover as a politician of 
Cervantes' native city, on the whole Don Esteban wrote clearly and 
displayed a literary awareness not unbecoming the mayor of Alcala 
de Henares. A man so intensely bound to his patria chica, however, 
could not have been the cosmopolitan that his son was destined to 
become when, many years later, Manuel Azana gave his own lecture 

Most of a Life, 1880-1 926 

on Alcala de Henares before an assemblage at the Ateneo of Madrid. 

Apart from these civic activities, Esteban Azana y Catarineu was 
also a business man of some importance in Alcala, He was descended 
from a line of scriveners and minor public servants of the peripheral 
type of nobility known in Spain as "hidalgo/' Less is known about his 
wife, Josefina Diaz, except that she was an intelligent and reportedly 
exceptional woman who shared her husband's library as well as his 
mildly liberal ideas, but it was an otherwise bourgeois and traditionally 
Catholic family which he supported by an income derived from both 
a soap factory and extensive land holding. Several of these farms 
still remain in the family; a principal one is the Finca de los Barrancos, 
not far from Alcala, and soon to be reforested under forced partner- 
ship with the state. A Catarineu soap is still manufactured somewhere 
in Spain, but no longer in Alcala nor under any interests of the Azana 
branch of the family. Esteban Azana also had a fleeting interest in a 
chocolate factory, but the truth is that both he and his son Manuel 
were given far more to literature and civic affairs than to business. 

Manuel Azana had two brothers and a sister. Carlos died as a child. 
Gregorio, the eldest son, like Manuel studied law before he ultimately 
settled in Zaragoza, where he was presiding officer of the regional high 
court located in that city, his official title having been Presidents de la 
Audienda Territorial de Zaragoza. As young men, both Gregorio and 
Manuel took an interest in local politics in Alcala. Gregorio was once 
elected representative of the Alcala-Chinchon district to the provincial 
congress, after having held previous municipal office in Alcala. In 
1905, the two brothers also helped edit a weekly satirical review known 
as La avisya (the wasp), one of whose stinging articles gave rise to 
a lawsuit against Manuel, quashed only when it was shown that he 
had not written that article. 

Gregorio's three marriages had produced one son (also named 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Gregorio) and eight daughters when he died of heart trouble in 1934, 
at precisely the time when Manuel, already ex-Prime Minister, was 
unjustly incarcerated in Barcelona and prevented even from attending 
his brother s funeral. Each of Gregorys three wives predeceased him. 
The first wife, Cristina, died childless in 1897 after less than two 
years of marriage. The second marriage gave seven children: two 
did not survive infancy; the others are, chronologically: Concepcion, 
Carmen, Josefa, Gregorio, and Ana, at whose birth the mother, 
Amparo, died in 1912. The third wife was Carmen, a victim of 
tuberculosis in 1927; her two children were Manuela and, the younger, 
Enriqueta. Gregorio's only son was assassinated by Nationalist sym- 
pathizers in Cordoba during the first days of the Civil War. Five of 
the six surviving sisters and half sisters still live in Spain, having 
returned from exile; the sixth, Enriqueta, is a nun who resides in 
Salinas, California. Manuela, pleasant and petite, is married to an 
architect and lives in Madrid, as does Carmen. Josefa, recently 
widowed, a most comely woman despite the Azana trait of a very pale 
complexion, lives with her daughter in Lorca (Murcia). The eldest, 
Concepcion, is unmarried, lives in Alcala de Henares, and exercises 
the principal control over the family interests. Ana, whose husband 
was killed by shrapnel during a Nationalist air raid in Valencia in 
1937, returned from exile in France in 1940 and now resides with 
her two sons in a pension which she owns in Madrid. One of the$6 
sons is Manuel Martinez Azana, named for his great uncle, Manuel 
Azana, whose literary career this young relative is bent upon emulating. 
Young Manuel had his first play, La forja de los suenos, produced 
May 17, 1960, at the Teatro Goya in Madrid, A handsome and 
talented youth, he is undaunted by the censorship of many lines from 
his play, or by the fact that the second of his surnames is a disadvantage 
to any kind of career in Spain today. The play itself is a subtle and 

Most of a Life, 1880-1 926 

poetic work which I have been privileged to co-edit for its publication 
in Spanish (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1963) and to co-translate into 
English under the title Where Dreams Are Forged. 

So much for Gregorio and his family. His and Manuel Azana's 
only sister was Josefa. The childless widow of a one-time cavalry 
officer named Ramon Laguardia, she died on December 5, 1959, at 
the age of 75. Particularly in later years Josef a bore a striking facial 
resemblance to her brother Manuel. Although she never wholly 
shared Manuel's political philosophy, she feared for her life during 
the Civil War and had to be treated for nervous disorders. After the 
Civil War, it was she who restored in magnificent fashion and refur- 
bished the Azana house at Calle de la Imagen 3, which the Nationalists 
had damaged extensively when they occupied Alcala at the end of the 
War. There in the family home she had lived somewhat secluded 
until her death. 

The Azana house was tastefully restored to reflect all of its original 
charm. Calle de la Imagen is a short and narrow street convenient to 
the old and arcaded business area of Alcala. On the corner diagonally 
across the street from the Azana home is the supposed house of 
Cervantes, also restored, and a national monument. Imagine the affinity 
to Cervantes that young Manuel Azana must have felt when he read 
Don Quijote for the first time, an affinity which inspired him years 
later to publish his own critical essay on the invention of the Quijote. 
Today one of the nieces, Conception, occupies the Azana home. Most 
of the original furniture was wrecked at the end of the Civil War, and 
the room where Manuel was born is no longer used as a bedroom; but 
his original desk, chair, and lamp are still by the window in his study. 
Photographs of him decorate the living room and drawing room as well 
as the study. Numerous other photos of Manuel are treasured in a 
family album. Despite the changes wrought by the Civil War in 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Spain, despite the stigmatization of the name Azana, despite the 
Catholicism practiced in the home and formalized in its elegant little 
chapel, the relatives of Manuel Azana are patently proud of him who 
was once President of the Spanish Republic and who fought to free 
state from church in Spain. 

Book twenty-four, folio sixty-four, of the baptismal records of the 
parish of San Pedro in Alcala de Henares reveals that on January 17, 
1880, a son of Esteban Azana and Josefina Diaz was baptized with 
the following given names: Manuel Maria Nicanor Federico Carlos, 
or simply Manuel Azaiia Diaz. The name Azana is uncommon. It 
suggests the Spanish noun of identical pronunciation, hazana: a heroic 
deed or exploit, also used in the ironic sense to mean an ignoble action. 
Like his surname, the life and deeds of Manuel Azana are liable to 
double interpretation. The present intention is neither to glorify the 
man nor to anathematize him, but to understand him. To achieve 
part of this understanding, one must realize that Manuel Azana lost 
both of his parents early in his life. 

Nothing is notable about Manuel's earliest years except the unhappy 
effect of the death of his parents. His mother died July 25, 1889, and 
his father in 1890, so Manuel became an orphan at the age of ten. 
He rattled about the big old house with the other children, all of whom 
were frequently alone despite the attempts of their paternal grand- 
mother, Concha de Catarineu, to look after them. Thus was the great 
solitary intellectual of later life a logical development of the precocious 
but shy young Manuel, whose emotional ties were so few in his boy- 
hood and who as an adolescent distinctly preferred things to people. 
Watched over by solicitous but authoritarian ecclesiastics, Manuel 
found an early refuge in reading. Indeed he read constantly. He 
was particularly fond of Jules Verne, whose then newly published 
works stirred his imagination. For a long time Manuel insisted that 


Most of a life, 1880-1926 

he wanted to become a sailor; tut books law books and others were 
to become his career far removed from sailoring. 

Though the father had remarried in articulo mortis, an obscure 
affair which made Manuel not less an orphan and which gave rise to 
a lawsuit filed by a maternal uncle, the patrimony was more than 
sufficient to underwrite the education of the children. Manuel received 
his early schooling in his native city at the Colegio Complutense, 
founded in 1850 and now defunct. Next he attended the Institute del 
Cardenal Cisneros and became a bachiUer at the age of thirteen. From 
there he went "to college" at the Augustinian school in the Escorial, 
where this young man with the morals of a believer but the tempera- 
ment of a non-believer first rebelled against religious dogma. Having 
finished his studies at the Escorial, he went to Zaragoza, where he 
completed a licentiate in law. In 1897 he returned to Alcala to see 
his only boyhood sweetheart (a relative named Josefa Diaz Gallo) and 
to undertake his first journalistic endeavor, the co-editorship of a local 

This is the time to introduce Jose Maria Vicario Sanz, Azaiia's best 
boyhood friend. Jose Vicario is one of the traditions of Alcala, part 
of the local color. In probably his mid-eighties, he is today like the 
monument to Cervantes, whose pedestal alone shows wear while the 
essential part of the creation remains firm. A bachelor, Jose lives 
modestly at the Plaza de San Julian 2 with his niece; unlike Don 
Quijote's, she is niece and housekeeper in one. By comparison to 
Gustave Dore s drawing, Vicario's study could be that of Alonso 
Quijano, except for a scarcity of books on chivalry, because Vicarious 
shelves are lined largely with nineteenth-century authors, but not so 
many that the works of Manuel Azafia fail to enjoy a prominent 
position. Two of Vicario's prized possessions on display are a large 
autographed photo (with dedication to Jose Vicario) of his friend 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Manolo, as Manuel's friends in Alcala used to call him, and a bound 
collectionprobably the only one extant of the review, Brisas de 
Henares (Breezes from the Henares), which he and Azafta established 
in 1897 and published for seven months. 

The pages of this aggressive political and literary magazine carry 
the first record in print of Manuel Azana's latent rebellion. Published 
at Coches 10 (a street name which still exists) and sold for twenty 
centimes per copy, the periodical carried all types of features: short 
stories, caustic editorials, jokes, poems, and resumes of the sessions of 
the Alcala city council. Many of the political .and literary items were 
signed by "Salvador Rodrigo," the first of a number of pen names that 
Azana was to employ in his career as a writer. For the occasion, 
Vicarious nom de plume was "El Vicario de Duron." Always identifi- 
able by the shield of the city of Alcala that appeared at the top of the 
title page of each issue, the review prospered and its later issues even 
attracted some advertising to help defray expenses. September 2, 1897, 
was the date of the first number of Brisas de Henares; thereafter it 
appeared on the first, tenth, and twentieth of each month until its 
final issue of March 10, 1898. Then Azana was going to go back 
to school, and Vicario did not want to carry on the enterprise alone. 

Through the years, however, the two friends saw each other often. 
During the 1930's when Azana enjoyed high political office and 
national prestige, he frequently felt a need to get away from the capital 
fpr 3. night and would go to Alcala, whre he preferred to arrive late 
and unnoticed. He seldom failed to visit the "Vicario de Duron" for 
a chat in the latter s study on these informal occasions. In official 
capacity, however, Azana visited Alcala only once or twice during his 
tenure of the most important posts iu national government. 

The year 1898 found Spain at war with the United States and 
Manuel Azana enrolled as a graduate student at the Universidad 

Most of a life, 1 880-1 926 

Central (University of Madrid), where he earned a doctor of laws 
degree in 1900. There he was privileged to study under the famous 
humanist Francisco Giner de los Rios, as well as under the well-known 
jurists Azcarate and Posada, who provided him with sufficiently good 
recommendation for placement in the eminent law firm of Luis Diaz 

Do not picture a hard-working young apprentice trying to get ahead 
with simple habits and frugal fare. In Madrid, Manuel had acquired a 
taste for elegance. He put fine clothes on his back, dined at the best 
restaurants, and cultivated a tertulia of friends as unsettled as he. His 
legal career was soon ended; presumably he found active law practice 
dull and never again returned to it. Instead he gave himself over to 
books, and also to desirable young ladies, an indolent life supported 
by income from the family estate in Alcala. 

At about this time the young man also gave his first lecture, or at 
least his first public address to have been published. The year was 1902, 
year of Alfonso XIII's assumption of the throne of a then constitutional 
monarchy. Azana was only twenty-two years old when he read this 
speech, entitled La libertad de asotiacion? before the Academy of 
Jurisprudence in Madrid. Behold the young jurist addressing his 
elders: he, squat, blond, mustachioed (at that time), with two 
fathomless pools for eyes set in a large head that sprouted two corre- 
spondingly large ears. Even at that age Azafia was nearsighted, and 
he wore die sickly pale complexion which was soon te accentuate an 
early obesity. 

"Freedom of Association/' and all the title implies, is a fitting intro- 

2 The speech was published in Madrid in 1902 by Imprenta de los hijos de M. G. 
Hernandez and is a very rare pamphlet today. The tfniversity of California (Berkeley) 
library owns what is probably the only copy in the U.S.A. Until I told them o it, this 
publication was unknown to Azana's widow and brother-in-law, who are planning to publish 
Azana's complete works. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

duction to the ideological pattern of Manuel Azafia. Syntactical analy- 
sis of this, his first, recorded public message reveals also the dense style 
of complex but orderly sentence structure representative of his prose 
and oratory. It is not surprising that this first speech lacks rhetorical 
originality in its composition; rather he reverts to a few time-worn 
devices. One of them is in the ending, where he does not permit the 
turn of his argument to announce, unsaid, a logical point of conclusion; 
instead he resorts to the "In conclusion, gentlemen . . ." type of leave- 
taking, to which he adds the final words in the form of a literary tag, a 
quotation without depth, moreover, or originality: "Freedom, to make 
association possible; association, to make freedom fecund/' 3 Yet in a 
work even so early as this one, Azana was dealing with some of the 
same specific and cardinal precepts, the same axes to grind, that were 
to form his often-stated personal and political credo: freedom of associ- 
ation as an ideal in itself, which includes freedom for the proletariat to 
form co-operatives ("the co-operative idea is not socialist"), freedom for 
statesmen to develop political parties, freedom for scholars to speak out 
freely; the sovereignty of the state free from clerical influence, and free 
from the oppression of the military caste; the creation of a citizenry 
who take an interest in affairs of state and public order; and the faith 
in one's own times and contemporary resources. As his book on French 
political theory will reveal, Azana interpreted freedom as a duty (a 
giving), not a privilege (a taking). 

In his personal life, Manuel was beginning to encounter problems 
less theoretical than those of citizenship. The money was running low 
in Alcala. Until then, he had returned to the family home only for 
an occasional vacation, to see his old friend Jose Vicario, or to roam the 
fields that he knew and liked so well. Suddenly circumstances forced 
him to attempt a rescue of the family holdings. To this end Azana 

8 Quoted from Piemas Hurtado, El movimiento cooperative. 

Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

moved back to Alcala, where he tried to modernize the farming prop- 
erties and at the same time pay a living wage to his workers. He 
became restive, however, not primarily because success eluded him, 
but because in Madrid he had developed a cosmopolitan taste which 
was proving to be incompatible with rural confinement. With most 
of the Azana capital dissipated, Manuel went back to Madrid in a 
more serious frame of mind. Still it was a valuable experience for a 
future statesman; and in a speech at Madrid years later, on February 
11, 1934, Azana was able to say, "I too have been a farmer/' 

In Madrid he took the path that has always seemed so attractive to 
many middle-class Spaniards. He became a respectable bureaucrat, 
having won a competitive examination for an administrative post in 
the Registry Office of the Ministry of Justice. Jose Vicario retains a 
copy of the speech that Azana had to give as part of his ofosidones for 
the position, Azana discharged the duties of the position competently, 
but since it was neither demanding nor lucrative, he found enough 
hours free both to continue his intellectual activities at the Ateneo and 
to supplement the income from other sources. He did some teach- 
ing at the Academy of Jurisprudence and was also secretary of the 
Institute of Comparative Law. In addition, he began to write articles 
for newspapers both in and out of Spain. 

In 191 1, at the age of thirty-one, Azana won a grant from the Coun- 
cil for the Development of Studies (Junta de Ampliation de Estudios, 
created in 1907, a government-backed organization which sent Spanish 
scholars abroad) to go for a year to Paris and the Sorbonne, He was 
competent in the French language, and French politics fascinated him 
not less than the liberal milieu of the French capital itself. It was 
natural that Azana be attracted to French ideas because basically he 
was a realist who moved within the practical concept of intellectual 
discipline which the French call le droit. Much at home in the literary 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

life of Paris, Azafia sent Lack newspaper articles to Madrid under the 
pen name "Martin Pinel" and undoubtedly began to collect data for 
his Estudios de politico, francesa contempordnea. He admired the 
British as well as the French but never achieved a visit to England, 
nor to America. 

Back at his various jobs in Madrid the following year, Azafia settled 
down to a routine that included late hours (and late to rise), much 
strolling, even more reading, an occasional tertulia, but a veritable 
haunting of the halls of the Ateneo, that haven of intellectuals and 
liberals where he studied, gave lectures, or spent hours in contemplative 
thought. Now and then he played tennis or a game of cards or chess. 
Occasionally he bought a lottery ticket and was known to win. He 
continued to take pleasure in fine cuisine, since his was a delicate 
palate which savored such dishes for the gourmet as angulas, tiny ashy- 
pale eels cooked intact in deep oil. Already in his early thirties Azana 
had become fleshy, in fact had a paunch. In 1913 he joined the new 
Reformist political party (Partido Reformista) of Melquiades Alvarez, 
with whom he held meetings and gave lectures on behalf of the party, 
one of them held at the Teatro-Salon Cervantes in his .home town of 
Alcala toward the end of 1913. In the same year Azana was elected 
secretary of his beloved Ateneo, a post which he held through 1919. 
Also in 1913 Azana published a booklet entitled La situation eco- 
nomica del Ateneo de Madrid, In the summer of 1914 he first met 
Cipriano Rivas Cherif, the young intellectual who was to become 
Azana's best friend and whose sister Azana was to marry in 1929. 

World War I came during that same summer of 1914, on July 28. 
Formally Spain remained neutral, and economically she profited by 
that status, but Spanish public opinion became divided. As one might 
have expected, Manuel Azana declared himself with the minority in 
favor of France and England, countries whose achieved reality of demo- 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

cratic life he admired so much. He spoke vehemently in the Ateneo 
against Germany (one of his best lectures was "Los motivos de la 
germanofilia") and wrote for the liberal Madrid dailies El impartial 
and El liberal with similar conviction. He even helped to organize pro- 
Allied demonstrations throughout Spain, like the one held in the Bull 
Ring of Madrid. About 1916 Azafia and his friend Rivas Cherif 
toured much of northern Spain, from town to town, to help in the 
pro-Allied propaganda campaign. It was this kind of introduction to 
political stump procedures that perhaps impelled Azana to enter two 
unsuccessful campaigns for public office. In 1918 and again in 1923 
he ran as a Reformista candidate to parliament from the province of 
Toledo and was backed by the Socialists of that region. Attributing 
his defeat to the deeply rooted cadquismo (political boss system), and 
taught by experience the futility of an intellectual's speeches in 
overcoming the influence of an opponent's wealth, later during the 
Republic Azana was to introduce changes in the electoral laws designed 
to minimize local political corruption. 

Italy had entered the Great War on the side of the Allies. In 1917 
at the invitation of the Italian government, Azana was one of five Span- 
ish writers who toured the Italian-Austrian war front. The others of 
the group were Americo Castro, Luis Bello, Santiago Rusinol, and 
Miguel de Unamuno, whose relations with Azana were still cordial at 
that time, though Unamuno behaved boorishly throughout the trip. 
Earlier the French government had invited Azana, Ramon Menendez 
Pidal, and some others to tour the war areas of France. From France, 
Azana had written to Rivas Cherif of his confidence in an Allied 

Coincident with the triumph that Azana predicted was the publica- 
tion of his first full-length book, the heart of which was three 
lectures that he had given at the Ateneo in January of 1918. Also 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

about that time, the Reformist party had asked Azana to make a report 
on the status of the Spanish military situation, The book on French 
policy bears no publication date, but Azana signed the prologue as 
October, 1918, one month before the Armistice in Europe (November 
11, 1918). The full title of the book is Estudios de politico, francesa 
contempordnea, Vol. I: La politico, militar (Studies in Contemporary 
French Policy [Politics], Vol. I: Military Policy), first of a projected 
three-volume series, the second to be entitled El laicismo (Laicization) 
and the third, La organization del sufragio (The Organization of 
Suffrage). The remaining two volumes were never published. 

As Azana explains in his prologue, the study has nothing to do with 
the technical preparation of an army for war. It would have been 
presumptuous of him to assume the role of military strategist. Instead 
he writes of military policy, particularly insofar as it reflects French 
public life of the preceding fifty years. Even though Azana begins 
with the French Revolution, his specific analysis covers the 1871-1914 
period, which dates from the previous armistice with Germany and 
includes France's total reorganization up to the start of World War I. 
An interesting key to French political thought of the period, and more 
than a history book, these over three hundred dense pages of erudition 
were Azana's own private training ground for concepts of government 
which later he was to propose for Spain, on the French model. For 
example, as Minister of War of the first Republican government, he 
undertook a program of army reform which undoubtedly derived from 
what he expressed as one of the aims of his book: the search for a 
military policy that would render the greatest defensive efficiency 
without diminishing the freedom of the individual or the sovereignty 
of the government. Every army is potentially a threat to its own gov- 
ernment, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spaniards have known 
what it is to live under such a threat, so often has the Spanish military 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

seen fit to rise up in the role of savior of the state, as in 1874, 1923, 
and 1936. Thus Azana's purpose in presenting this material is more 
didactic in nature than it would seem at first sight instructive for 
Spaniards, not Frenchmen. Manuel Azanas apprenticeship for gov- 
ernment was much more extensive than his colleagues realized, and 
certainly was not confined to the gestation period of Spanish Republi- 
canism in the late 1920's. 

Azafia's political theory all lies on the bedrock of freedom for the 
individual Rememher that as early as 1902 he was discoursing on 
freedom of association. Azafia's study of French politics has likewise 
as its nucleus the individual and his freedom, inviolate but within well- 
defined social obligations. Liberty becomes equated with yatrla when 
the state assures its citizens that it will defend their rights, and when 
the citizens in turn give to the state the protection (public office, mili- 
tary duty, etc.) required for its efficiency and survival. But these 
rights of the citizen are earned rights; contrary to Article 1 of the 
Declaration of the Rights of Man, men are not "born free." Even 
though many of Azana's thoughts on republicanism may be rooted 
ultimately in the French Revolution ("the French Revolution, to which 
most modern peoples in Europe are indebted for their political exist- 
ence/' as he said in the Cortes, May 27, 1932), he distilled all senti- 
ment from the French precepts; and his critics are wrong in accusing 
him of nineteenth-century romantic liberalism. Azana's concept of indi- 
vidual freedom is not the one of Rousseau; not the one linked to "na- 
ture" and denying to any man a "natural" authority over any other man; 
not the one by which a given human being is himself the best judge of 
his own best means of preserving his right, even his duty, of being free 
and autonomous, Instead Azafia interprets liberty as a collective force, 
a kind of mutual guarantee among men, a force whose legal authority 
transcends the individual's ego and lies in the common interest of 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

citizenship, this common will to be transferred, in turn, to the leaders 
of state. Azana asserted that the freedom of the individual could be 
maintained only through the public good, which is the limited kind 
of freedom called democracy. Collective freedom is an act of giving; 
pure "natural" freedom is an act of taking hence the moral superiority 
of collective freedom. Thus Azana's concepts of freedom are highly 
civilized ones, unsentimental, practical, and realistic. As he so often 
repeated later in speeches, liberty does not make men happy; it simply 
makes them men. 

Why did Azana, essentially an aesthete and litterateur, seek the mili- 
tary problem among all the Spanish problems in which he might have 
interested himself? Antonio Ramos Oliveira supplied an answer in his 
book Politics, Economics and Men of Modern Spain, 1808-1946, 
which has the best chapter on Azana that anyone has written, which 
has, in fact, the only accurate picture of the man and his motives. 
'What spurred Azana to seek to change the face of his country was 
chiefly the longing for harmony and beauty, the preoccupation of the 
artist rather than the politician. It was natural that Azana should 
choose the military question, since for a temperament like his, nothing 
could have been more 'noisy and disorderly* [this phrase is Azana's] 
in Spain than the invasion of public life by the Army. To put it 
simply, the Army did not allow him to write, to fulfill himself, in a 
grave and noble sense; the Army was the major obstacle which pre- 
vented Spain from realizing her destiny/' 4 Ramos Oliveira was prob- 
ably right when he concluded that to silence and discipline the Army 
was Azana's "oldest and perhaps his only aspiration in politics." 

Manuel Azana was approaching the transitional age of forty, vari- 
ously described as the twilight of youth or the dawn of maturity. By 

4 Antonio Ramos Oliveira, Politics, Economics and Men of Modern Spam, 1 808-1 946 
(London, 1946), pp. 308-9. 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

this time he had defined himself well, even if only to men of letters, 
political theorists, and journalists. The masses were not to hear much 
of him until more than ten years later, his only "popular" activities 
having been the propaganda campaigns during the First World War 
and his several unsuccessful bids for political office. Azana's ability to 
blend forensic elegance with disarming logic was earning him a repu- 
tation as a convincing speaker; on the other hand, as a writer, his 
obvious originality and unquestioned command of language failed to 
win any sizable bloc of readers to a prose that seemed dense and cold, 
and perhaps erudite to a fault. 

He was brilliant, they said, but unapproachable. He seemed to be 
perpetually on guard against others, and, what is more, he had a bad 
temper. His physiognomy was not one to instill confidence. He was 
ugly, beatifically ugly! His paunch was becoming as rotund as his 
prose, and the stubby hands were becoming thick with flesh that fell 
over and under the several rings which he always wore. It was time 
for the moustache to come off forever, and he was balding, the remain- 
ing hair having turned grey on the square head. As the chin grew 
larger, so did the nose. His coloring had never been good, because 
the entire family shared a pale complexion. On the whole, Azana's 
physical appearance was far. from prepossessing. 

When this 'pimply-faced Mr. Pickwick," as one observer later de- 
scribed him, came to power in the Republican government, no other 
man before the public eye was subjected to more cruel and persistent 
caricature in the opposition's press. He was a toad, a frog, a sala- 
mander, a snakeanything slimy or untouchable, but most especially 
a snake the stealthy, hissing, vengeful danger, and with the additional 
implication of femininity, since snake is a feminine noun (la seryiente) 
in Spanish. Admittedly vain, sensitive, and somewhat vengeful (wom- 
anish characteristics, reputedly), Manuel Azana lived the solitary life 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

of erudition that prevented him, in the estimation of some, from more 
normal functions like marriage. It is impossible to say who originated 
the rumor of his "unnatural practices/' much less to verify the truth 
of it; but whether or not it was true, everybody heard of it sooner or 
later, and the story persists even today. There was even one wild tale 
that spread to France, to the effect that Azafia liked to dress up as a 
woman. Included in the calumny was bouncy, nervous little Cipriano 
Rivas Cherif, since he was Azana's companion and adulator. Mali- 
cious jokes were invented about Rivas CheriFs given name. With the 
diphthong split, the name Ciyriano was easily twisted into two un- 
seemly ones. Some of the slanderers were silenced later when Azaiia 
married Don Cipriano's sister; others found this marriage to be good 
reason for redoubling their vituperations. 

The Great War over, Paris was becoming gay again. Azafia and 
Rivas Cherif spent the latter months of 1919 and early part of 1920 
there, with a side trip to Alsace-Lorraine and the inauguration cere- 
monies of the French University of Strasbourg, to which Azafia had 
been invited. In France the two good friends led a carefree life and 
maintained themselves largely from literary translations. Among 
Azana's translations, then and later, are works by Jean Giraudoux, 
George Borrow, and Gilbert Chesterton, as well as Voltaire's memoirs. 5 
All of the numerous translations by Azaiia are from either English or 
French. He and Rivas Cherif frequently helped each other, but their 
names appeared together on a title page only once; their Spanish trans- 
lation of the Memoires of Mile, de Lespinasse, one of the eighteenth- 
century salon-leaders. Rivas Cherif was competent in Italian as well 
as in French and English, for he had taken his doctorate at the Uni- 
versity of Bologna (he once told me he loved Italy the best of all 
places), and during this period in Paris he translated Goldoni's La 

5 See Azana's translations in the Appendix. 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

locandiera, Dante's 11 convivio, Fogazzaro's Daniele Cortis, Foscolo's 
Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, and some short novels by Verga, along 
with works by Gautier (Le capitaine Fracasse), Rochefoucauld (Me- 
moires), and even Hans Christian Andersen. In 1913 Rivas Cherif had 
translated the Fioretti (about St. Francis of Assisi); in 1911-12 he pub- 
lished in two volumes the Romances of the Duque de Rivas; in 1921 
he edited the first Clasicos Castellanos edition of poetry by Ramon 
de Campoamor. Then in 1928 he was the co-translator of some of 
Joseph Conrad's tales, and in 1944 he gave Dana's Two Years before 
the Mast to readers of the Spanish language. 

In the spring of 1920 the two friends returned to Madrid, where a 
mutual friend, Amos Salvador, offered to underwrite the foundation of 
a literary journal which they called La pluma, its name taken from the 
quotation originated by Azana and placed at the head of each volume: 
"La pluma es la que asegura castillos, coronas, reyes y la que sustenta 
leyes n (The pen is what preserves castles, crowns, kings, and is what 
maintains laws). This motto typifies Azana's faith in the goddess 
Intelligence. His deity was to fail him later when the pen and the 
word were not enough to preserve the Spanish Republic they had 

La pluma appeared monthly from June, 1920, to June, 1923, all 
issues printed by Saez Hermanos, and wrapped, addressed, and mailed 
by Azana and Rivas Cherif themselves. The first issue bore a statement 
of editorial policy that committed La pluma to independent writing, 
free from ties to any school of thought or literary movement, and, 
though disclaiming the ivory tower, in opposition to what the editors 
described as the present bad taste in writing. Theirs was not the usual 
type of crusade wherein a group of writers feel out of step with their 
times. All in all, La pluma was a good monthly, one that seemed to 
lack only variety. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

In an uphill struggle, the editors managed gradually to attract many 
of the best-known liberal writers of the day, some of whom, like Valle 
Inclan, were already old friends from Azana's tertulia at the Cafe 
Regina. Of the established writers, the most frequent contributors 
were Gomez de la Serna, Perez de Ayala, and Valle Inclan, whose 
esperpentos were the feature work in many issues, They published 
Unamuno's three-act play Fedra in three installments: January, Febru- 
ary, and March, 1921. Other well-known contributors were Juan 
Ramon Jimenez, Pedro Salinas, Alfonso Reyes, Jorge Guillen, Antonio 
Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Salvador de Madariaga. Rivas 
Cherif supplied poems and short stories, and also did most of the book 
reviews, including a review (with highest praise, naturally) of his 
friend Azana's translation of George Borrow's The Bible in Spain 
(June, 1921, issue), Azana furnished some book reviews himself but 
found it hard to confine his analyses to a reasonable length; even in 
reviewing a book, he was given to the dense long-paragraph style which 
characterizes nearly all of his writings as well as his oratory. 

Most of Azana's non-fictional feature contributions to La pluma 
were gathered later with others of his essays in a collection appropri- 
ately entitled Plumas y palabras (Madrid, 1930), which we shall 
examine in another place. "El secreto de Valle Inclan/' Azana's contri- 
bution to the issue of January, 1923 (a number devoted entirely to 
Valle Inclan), was the only one of Azana's essays from La fluma 
included in his other collection entitled La invention del Quijote y 
otros ensayos (Madrid, 1934). When he wrote for La pluma, some- 
times Azana signed his own name, as in the serializing, in eight install- 
ments, of about half his El jardin de los frailes (discussed in the fol- 
lowing chapter); at other times he signed his articles with one or the 
other of his two pen names of that time: "Cardenio" and "El Paseante 
en Corte." 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

Three fictional items stand out among Azafia's La fluma contribu- 
tions not collected or expanded later in the volume Plumas y yalabras, 
which contained all non-fiction. The first of these, part of die inau- 
gural issue of La pluma> is perhaps Azafia s best short story, one which 
shows the expert subtle irony that typifies Azana's writing. It is en- 
titled "A las puertas del otro mundo" (At the Gates of the Other 
World). Because of its content, which by a striking coincidence antici- 
pated some of the actual circumstances of Azana's death, comment on 
this story will be reserved for the last chapter. The second tale is "Auto 
de las cortes de Burgos, o triple Have al sepulcro del Cid y divino 
zancarron," a hoax auto with argument, dialogue, and a pretended note 
on the edition at the end. Azafia's sarcasm seems always to be at its 
best when he gibes at the clergy. Here he mocks the church's pro- 
pensities for the collection and adoration of relics. The supposed 
remains of the Cid are exhumed, much to the joy of a certain Latin- 
speaking Archbishop of Trajanopolis. When a doctor identifies the 
bones as those of a horse (probably Babieca!), the Archbishop is uncon- 
vinced; rather, he argues that maybe the Cid was a giant, and he kisses 
the bones to indicate that they are a relic, The skit terminates in mock 
classic style with the appearance of Fernando III and a little dance. 
The piece was signed by "Cardenio." 

This auto was the second of three works that Azana wrote under 
the heading Fantasias. The third was equally entertaining, signed also 
by "Cardenio" for the September, 1921, issue, along with the first 
installment of El jardin de los frailes. Entitled "Si el alarbe [sic] tornase 
vencedor" (If the Arab Should Return Victorious), and replete with 
the wildest anachronisms, it depicts an imaginary war between Spain 
and invading Moors from Morocco. Again, its refined wit is all satire. 
Two Moors are debating the advisability of invading Spain. The one 
who favors an attack argues that previously it took the Spaniards eight 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

hundred years to recoup what Islam had won in a few months. The 
other Moor maintains that if the Spaniards are indeed rustic and back- 
ward, that is precisely what will make them good fighters. It is decided, 
nevertheless, to invade. In Spain the mobilized clergy bless the first 
stone of each fortress ordered restored by the Academy of Fine Arts. 
The preparations for war reveal the Spaniards* collective tendency to 
improvise: "Lo improvisamos todo: un soneto, una fortaleza, un ferro- 
carrir (We improvise everything: a sonnet, a fortress, a railroad). 
Squads of monks in a certain monastery twice as big as the Escorial 
work feverishly making scapularies. Another factory is making medals, 
their distribution assured by the women who will take them to the 
front. The Archbishop of Tarragona commands the right wing of the 
assembled army, with all the cavalry, while Alejandro Lerroux (Azana's 
political opponent-to-be during the Republic), proclaimed a Maestre 
de Santiago, governs the left wing. The bull (bula) of the crusade is 
on sale but does not sell well since many people are expecting to get it 
at the last moment at a reduced price. With such preparations for war, 
naturally the Spaniards lose the battle and retire to prepared positions. 

Throughout the 1920's Azana attacked the church, which was grow- 
ing powerful again in a period marked by total damming of the earlier 
tide of liberalism in government. Apparently he had the good sense to 
throw a smoke screen of fiction or surreptitious publication over most 
of his political and ecclesiastical attacks. An unfortunate lack of such 
precaution, by the way, sent Unamuno into exile. The last issue of 
La pluma in June, 1923, therefore, represented a voluntary cessation of 
publication, in order that Azana and Rivas Cherif might take what 
they thought was a step forward in joining the editorial board of the 
better-known magazine Espana, 

Founded by Jose Ortega y Gasset in 1915, Espana was a weekly 
journal dedicated to republicanism as well as to literature. Both before 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

and after Azafia associated himself with the staff of Espana, its political 
messiahship kept the publication in constant disfavor with the govern- 
ment and the military censors, to whose unholy prerogatives every issue 
of Espana alluded during this period. When words or sentences and 
even whole paragraphs were deleted from its copy, Espana countered 
effectively by publishing the given article with the censored portions 
represented exactly by blank lines of dots. The February 16, 1924, 
issue bore a laconic announcement, in funereal type, of the decree 
exiling Unamuno (who had been a frequent contributor) and closing 
the Ateneo, One might suppose that even some of the advertising car- 
ried by the magazine antagonized the watchdogs, because each issue 
during Azana's incumbency contained at least one and sometimes two 
advertisements for firearms singular sponsorship for a literary journal! 
Its editors courted the enmity of the Primo de Rivera government and 
baited the censors until finally Espana was forced to cease publication 
with the March 29, 1924, issue. 

The best-known contributors to the pages of Espana were largely 
the same writers who had lent their prestige to La pluma. Among them 
were Valle Inclan, Unamuno, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Madariaga, 
Ramon Gomez de la Serna (with his drawings, as usual, accompanying 
his literary work), Jorge Guillen, Pedro Salinas, Jaime Torres Bodet, 
Luis Araquistain, Jose Bergamin, and Antonio Espinosa. In addition to 
his own editorial contributions, both literary and political, Azaiia had a 
hand in the direction and management; in 1924 the business office 
was transferred to his own house at Calle de Hermosilla 24 duplicado 
(duplicado means the second of two houses with the same number) in 
the district of Madrid known as the barrio de Salamanca. The same 
printer, Saez Hermanos, published both La pluma and Espana. As for 
Rivas Cherif, he performed the same function that he had with 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

La pluma: he wrote a more than occasional article and was the chief 
literary critic and book reviewer. 

On joining Espana, Azafia ceased to use his old pseudonyms, but 
certain unsigned editorial comment reveals his style and sentiment if 
not his name. Azana later collected his best non-fictional works from 
both Espana and La pluma in a volume which will be examined in the 
next chapter. Present mention need be made of his few chief contribu- 
tions that appeared only in Espana. There are also those which did 
not appear even in Espana, like one entitled "Suicidio de Pedro Crespo" 
(Suicide of Pedro Crespo) announced for the December 8, 1923, 
Espana, but suppressed by censorship along with four other articles of 
the same issue, one of them by Unamuno; or the one entitled "Nuevos 
partidos, libertades viejas" (New Parties, Old Liberties), originally 
announced as deleted from the November 10, 1923, issue, but which 
appeared later without explanation, unsigned, and perhaps cut or 
revised or perhaps not in the March 15, 1924, number. Whenever 
an article could not be published, which was not an infrequent occur- 
rence, the editors of Espana inserted an ambiguous little notice about 
"causes contrary to our wishes/' etc. 

Either the censors were inattentive when the article on "Nuevos 
partidos, libertades viejas" was set in type, or else Azana concluded that 
discretion was not the better part of valor. "Liberty is the condition of 
citizenship," he writes, and then goes on to censure the church, which 
in countries where it has lost its privileged secular position, ends by 
embracing the very freedom that it had sought with all its means to 
destroy. Also he evokes freedom of the press, historically the sire of 
all public liberties, and indispensable to any chance of survival for the 
new liberal parties seeking to organize themselves, since no group 
can share its own ideas without means of communication. Thus Azana 
returns to his old theme of freedom of association. 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

The article "La vanidad y la envidia" (Vanity and Envy) in the 
same issue is directed against the dramatist Jacinto Benavente, a one- 
time Germanophile (Azana disliked Germany instinctively) and, at 
that writing, a monarchist. Benavente had asserted publicly, "I am a 
monarchist because I am a Spaniard/' words refuted by Azana without 

In other articles Azana reacts to the Spanish-American War (which 
he always considered an ill-advised and useless manifestation of Span- 
ish "honor," except for the lessons it taught Spaniards), ruminates on 
Joaquin Costa (whom he always took to be a pessimist and anti- 
democrat who was as wrong at one extreme of prescription for Spanish 
regeneration as was Ganivet at the other), condemns Maurice Barres 
(nationalistic French novelist, recently deceased at that time), and 
eulogizes Woodrow Wilson on the occasion of his death. One might 
well expect that the internationalist and progressive Azana would have 
seen in Woodrow Wilson a kindred spirit whose labor deserved more 
acclaim than his actual success might have indicated. Finally, mention 
must be made of a little one-act dialogue with five scenes, "El f enix de 
las Espanas," published in the March 1, 1924, Espana. A political 
satire on the Conde de Romanones, an aristocrat prominent in govern- 
ment circles, it is similar in form and ironic tone to the "fantasy" that 
Azana had inserted in the September, 1921, La pluma. This time he 
exercises his satirical bent by depicting some fictitious elections in 
contemporary Spain. Azana did well in this genre, the colloquy, which 
possibly he should have cultivated more. It will be shown that he was 
a failure as a dramatist, but then so was Pio Baroja, who was an expert 
at the non-dramatic dialogue like Paradox, Rey. Instead of writing a 
great work of fiction, Manuel Azana was constantly invading the 
library, drawn there by a scholarly curiosity that usually prevailed over 
his imaginative creativity. The only time that he gave undivided 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

effort to fiction was in his single great novel, Fresdeval, posthumous, 
unfinished, and most of it composed when he was in hiding and unable 
to haunt the libraries. 

So it was that during his "literary 1920*5*' Manuel Azana was not 
composing the great modern Spanish novel; instead he was collecting 
material to win the National Prize of Literature, in 1926 at the age 
of 46, for his Life of Don Juan Valera. 

The prize did not include automatic publication of the winning 
manuscript. But there is another reason, not generally known, why 
the book never has been published in toto. Valera's daughter Carmen 
made Azana promise not to publish the whole work until after her 
death. Ironically she outlived Azana by a few months. Though the 
Life of Don Juan Valera as a complete manuscript has been lost, parts 
of it will be collected for the first time in Azana's complete works, 
supposedly ready now for publication in Mexico. 6 Azana did begin 
right away, however, to disseminate the work piecemeal. The first 
portion to be printed was entitled "Valera en Rusia," published as 
pages 5-40 of the January-February, 1926 (Ano XX, Tomo LII, Nos. 
200 and 201), review Nosotros of Buenos Aires. Valera had gone to 
Russia in 1856 as secretary to a diplomatic mission headed by the Duke 
of Osuna. Azanas article treats of the six months that Valera remained 
there. Based largely on the copious correspondence of Valera, it de- 
scribes and interprets Valera's love affairs. A large part of the original 

6 It seems ironical that with Azana's essays on Valera finally ready for publication, an- 
other biography of Valera, also based on Valera's letters, has recently been published in 
Spain: Carmen Bravo Villasante, Juan Valera (Barcelona, 1959), 365 pp. Even though 
Azana's complete works are ready for publication now, it may be some time before the 
volumes actually appear. Azana died without a will, and the heirs, his widow in Mexico 
and his nieces in Spain, have been unable to agree on the rights. It is not really a ques- 
tion of royalties, but one of propriety. The complete works would have to include Azana's 
memoirs, the publication of which would surely open old wounds among Republicans in 
exile as well as possibly create difficulties for Republicans who have by now returned to 
Spain, including the relatives in Madrid and Alcala de Henares. 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

prize-winning study, in fact, was based on Valera's letters and personal 
papers, made available to Azafia by Valera's daughter. Azaiia thanked 
her publicly in his prologue to the Clasicos Castellanos (Vol. XXX) 
edition of Valera s first and principal novel, Pepita Jimenez, published 
by La Lectura in Madrid, 1927. Apropos of this prologue, here is an 
excerpt from an unpublished letter which Azaiia wrote to Miguel de 
Unamuno on May 25, 1928: "Me satisface que haya encontrado usted 
bien el prologo de Pepita Jimenez. Tengo ahora para imprimir otra 
monografia sobre Valera, que comprende su historia personal y literaria 
mientras estuvo en Italia con el Duque de Rivas (1847-1849)" ("I am 
glad that you liked the prologue to Pepita Jimenez. I am now about to 
print another monograph on Valera, which covers his personal and 
literary history while he was in Italy with the Duque de Rivas"). It 
was through this editing of a volume in the most reliable series of 
edited Spanish classics that Azafia became recognized as a literary 
scholar. Prior to the 1926 prize, Azana's work had been largely jour- 
nalistic, aside from his study of French military policy and his trans- 

In 1927 Azafia also published a book with the title La novela de 
Pepita Jimenez (Madrid: Imprenta Ciudad Lineal). While the sixty- 
one-page prologue that he wrote for the Clasicos Castellanos volume 
is a condensation from his prize-winning work, La novela de Pepita 
Jimenez represents a long section copied from the prize work almost 
verbatim. The mother work bore still a fourth offspring, the "mono- 
graph" mentioned in Azana's letter to Unamuno, which is really a 
book entitled Valera en Italia: Amores, politica y literatura, not pub- 
lished until 1929, by Editorial Paez (Madrid) as number XIV of the 
Biblioteca de Ensayos series. This last physically unimpressive book 
contains Something of a reward for the curious reader: it has a youthful 
photograph of Azaiia opposite the title page. This photo bears Azana's 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

autograph, one in which a graphologist might see severity, self-disci- 
pline, and straightforwardness. It is the only autographed photo ever 
to appear in any of Azana's works published during or after his life- 
time, The fifth and final piece on Valera, entitled simply Valera, forms 
one of the four essays in Azana's La invention del Quijote y otros 
ensayos, published in Madrid in 1934 by Espasa-Calpe. 

Why did Azana study Valera? What drew his attention to the life 
and writings of that aristocratic Cordoban who lived from 1824 to 
1905? For one thing, it was a question of convenience and oppor- 
tunity: Valera's complete works, numbering forty-six volumes plus 
other papers, were being published in 1905-17, intellectually expansive 
years for Manuel Azana. More important, however, it was a case of 
attraction to a kindred spirit, which seems perfectly obvious once it is 
pointed out. I refer again to the chapter on Azafia in Ramos Oliveira's 
book. With good reason Ramos Oliveira held that Valera and Azana 
"both looked at Spain from the same angle. In essentials, their charac- 
ters were the same." Even their tastes and opinions were in many ways 
identical. Let us hear Azana speak on Valera; the quotation is from 
Azana's essay entitled Valera: 

Modesty, moderation, the careful preservation of personal intimacy; 
purity of line, clarity, order, the perpetual appeal to good sense, 
simplicity, grace; with a corresponding aversion to all that is noisy 
and disorderly. 

All of these characterize Azafla too. One might quibble about his 
"modesty," yet the tendency to display an unrestrainable brilliance of 
intellect is not really presumption or egotism. As was demonstrated in 
the matter of Azafia's interest in military affairs, the origin of this 
interest was aesthetic in nature: a wish to see the "noisy and disorderly" 
military curtailed in its unharmonious effect upon Spanish public and 


Most of a Life, 1880-1 926 

intellectual life. To quote Ramos Oliveira on Valera, "Valera felt a 
proud aversion from [sic] Spanish society which seemed to him primi- 
tive, coarse, presumptuous and ignorant. He perceived, above all, the 
aesthetic, or anti-aesthetic, aspect of Spanish things a quality which 
was also prominent in Azafia. Over a long period, much the same thing 
happened to Azana in politics as happened to Valera/' Azafia himself 
noted how Valera's "mental fineness prevented him from being fanati- 
cal; his personal dignity did not permit him to mingle with the rabble 
and elbow his way among the throng." This should not be interpreted 
to mean that Azana rejected any associations with the lower classes. 
To him, the mob meant all people who lacked character and substance, 
of whom a large portion may have been found among the upper classes. 
Rather he saw in "the people" fortitude, loyalty, natural courtesy and 
pride, and a passionate capacity for noble action misplaced energies 
within the scheme of Spanish traditionalism, but useful qualities within 
the liberal democratic state that he envisioned. 

Valera too had been a statesman, but one with far less direction and 
conviction than Azana. Both were urbane cosmopolites, as opposed to 
the castizo type, and in this lies the key to Azana's total personality. He 
rejected what most historians would call Spanish traditionalism, as a 
way of life incompatible with twentieth-century social and technical 
progress within a European community of nations. Azana and Valera 
were men of the world, of unmistakable culture and intellect. Each 
was critic, translator, and linguist; neither had talent for the writing of 
verse. An elegant style, as unaffected as it was unemotional, charac- 
terizes their prose. Pepita Jimenez is as polished and at the same time 
as slow moving as Azana's El jardin de los frailes; the characters 1 in- 
terior life is the thing. It is a noteworthy coincidence that the hero of 
each of these works is a seminarist who rebels, but the two works have 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

nothing else in common beyond their respective yet divergent religious 

Azafia himself observed that the style of Pepita Jimenez is superior 
to the plot. All the action is interior, psychological. This the most 
renowned of Valera's novels is the story of a young man, Luis, who, 
while he is studying for the priesthood, unwittingly falls in love with 
the widow for whom the novel is named. The novel reaches its climax 
when Luis finally decides to renounce his projected career in order to 
marry her. All of the novelist's subtle art is revealed in the very gradual 
change in outlook of Luis, the stream of interior processes carried along 
by means of an exchange of correspondence between Luis and his 
uncle, a priest from whom Luis seeks advice. Although Pepita Jimenez 
is not really anticlerical, Azafia saw in its author a certain spirit of 

Azana maintains that Valera "did not accept the divine origin of 
religion. He was not a practicing Catholic, not even a Christian, but 
publicly he abided by a liberal Catholicism/' And Azafia also saw in 
Valera an "independent rationalist" who was opposed to what Azafia 
calls "traditional forms." Valera wrote that "barbarism, coarseness, and 
ordinariness are in Spain irremediable," and he objected even to copy- 
ing colloquial language. 

In short, Valera's spirit was one in which reason dominated. Of 
Valera's double passion of literature and politics, Azana observes that 
"ever since he was young, Valera desired limitless [italics Azana's] 
power, glory. Pursuing them he had misspent time in politics." His 
profession as a novelist came late in life. Azana too turned late in life 
to fiction, too late to finish his one great work. When at the critical 
point in the parallel lives of both men Valera became disillusioned in 
politics, there was still time left to become a great writer; Azafia at that 
juncture forged ahead to become a great statesman, and when his star 


Most of a Life, 1880-1926 

fell it was too late to become a great writer. Even some of the details 
of their personal lives coincided. For example, both inherited lands 
which did them little good. At the age of forty-three Valera married 
a pretty young girl of twenty-two; Azana at forty-nine married a woman 
about twenty-two years his junior. 

One could go on, but this is enough. Azana and Valera were spir- 
itual brothers whose beliefs, art, and careers were astoundingly similar 
in many ways. Recall, however, that Azana was only in his mid-forties 
when he did his study on Valera, and that Azana's glory was still to 
come. Thus he did not have the full picture of his own life to compare 
to Valera's, much less the objective view of his own personality. Not 
less than three separate but identically worded statements appear in 
Azana's writings, two of them preceding the 1926 work on Valera, in 
which Azana says of Valera: "He is not my type, neither in the moral 
nor literary realm*' (No es mi tipo, ni en lo moral ni en lo literario). 
Can one surmise that Azana underestimated his own sensitivity? More 
than that, "he is not my type" is a declaration of intention not to follow 
Valera's course, not to give up politics for letters at this crossroads in 
his intellectual life. To the extent that the subject of study Valera 
in the 1926 prize-winning work served as an example to its author, 
that manuscript was in the final analysis an unintentional political 
treatise, like most of Azaiia's other works to come. The work on Valera 
also marks the end of a long apprenticeship. "He is not my type" 
seems to say: Bring on the Republic! 



Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

IN THE literary life of Manuel Azana, everything prior to the 1920's 
was prologue. His maturation as a writer coincided with the rise and 
fall of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship: one might say that the mere 
existence of the dictatorship gave him good reason to write, for there 
are epochs when the oppression of free minds can provide a stimulus 
to intellectual activity by giving them something to protest. Then too, 
the suspension of Azana s review Esyana in 1924 presented both pres- 
tige and challenge to its editors, a Spanish phenomenon no more para- 
doxical than the value of a period of exile, or a jail sentence for political 
crimes, as an apprenticeship to a political career. With the fall of the 
dictatorship, however, new political vistas presented Azana with new 
responsibilities, which, by the sheer press of time, were to restrict his 
literary activities. 

King Alfonso XIJTs generally shaky edifice of state had seen public 
disorder, bribes, misappropriation of state funds, labor and political 
unrest, a depreciation of currency, and inept government on the whole. 
Thirty-three separate cabinets were appointed from May, 1902, to 
September, 1923. As a result of this instability, although more spe- 
cifically as a reaction to the Moroccan problem (which involved scan- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

dal from apparently political exploitation of military defeats of the 
Spanish army at the hands of insurgent Berber tribesmen), General 
Miguel Primo de Rivera issued at Barcelona on September 12, 1923, a 
manifesto addressed to the nation and to the army, a document whose 
immediate effect was a coup d'etat. 1 It declared martial law: the expul- 
sion of all civil governors from office, their functions to be assumed by 
military governors and commandants. All means of communication, 
banks, power stations, reservoirs, and political meeting centers were 
to be placed under military supervision. The next day the government 
of Manuel Garcia Prieto resigned, whereupon all the ministries were 
taken over by the eight brigadier generals and one admiral whom Primo 
de Rivera had appointed to assist him. The Cortes was dissolved and 
the 1876 Constitution was suspended. Not until December 3, 1925, 
was a civilian "cabinet" reinstalled to replace the military one. The 
Constitution remained suspended until 1931. 

A permanent military dictatorship emerged, friendly to the aristoc- 
racy and the church, with Primo de Rivera destined to exercise his 
nearly supreme will until early in 1930. Best described as an era of 
arbitrary paternalism, it was not a wholly bleak period in Spanish his- 
tory; in many ways it was one of progress, for in his own way Primo 
was patriotic. Numerous railroads and highways were constructed. 
Facilities for wire communication were greatly expanded. The dic- 
tator tried to foster an economy of make-Spanish, buy-Spanish. Most 
important, he contrived to end the wars in Morocco. Self-characterized 
as a benevolent dictator, Primo did not extend his peripheral liberalism, 
however, to the area of free political thought. He mistrusted all politi- 
cal activity and liked to think of himself and his regime as apolitical. 

1 Soon after the coup d'&at Azana wrote a political article which appeared in Spanish 
in both Nosotros of Buenos Aires and Europe of Paris. He interpreted the origin and 
significance of the military dictatorship and predicted its long-range incapacity either to 
holster or properly supplant the decadent monarchy. 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

His phenomenal lack of culture, coupled with an obnoxious conceit, 
gave him a totally military idea of government which antagonized 
die intellectuals, who balked at the censorship imposed upon them. 
Miguel de Unamuno and others made martyrs of themselves in exile. 
Protected by Primo's slogan of "Patria, Religion, Monarquia" the 
church controlled education from top to bottom, much as it does un- 
officially in present-day Spain. When the professors began to protest 
and the students to riot, Primo de Rivera closed a number of the uni- 
versities along with the Ateneo, haven of the intellectuals. An unman- 
ageable spirit of opposition grew little by little into one of revolution. 
The disintegration of the dictatorship reached its final stage when 
Primo's main prop, the army, failed to respond with the vote of confi- 
dence that he requested of army chiefs in a circular letter dated Janu- 
ary 26, 1930. 

On January 28 these circumstances permitted the King to emerge 
from his role of puppet and receive the resignation of die dictator. 
Primo de Rivera did not leave Madrid until February 12, when he 
went to Barcelona. There he sought support for another coup, unsuc- 
cessfully, and finally traveled to Paris, where he died on March 16, 
1930. The King asked General Damaso Berenguer to form a govern- 
ment dedicated to a return to constitutionality, but Berenguer's progress 
in this direction could not offset the deep-seated resentment against the 
King. Consequently, by mid-1930 the republican parties were many 
and their meetings widespread, even if still clandestine. 

Azaiia saw that the old Reformist party, which he had joined in 
1913, could not liberalize the monarchy. He had also concluded that 
his own status as a man of letters actually was a hindrance to him in 
the party. Therefore Azaiia dissociated himself from Melquiades Alva- 
rez, whose subordinate he had been for over ten years, attacking Alvarez 
in a monograph entided El hombre con las maws en los bolsittos (The 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azaria 

Man with His Hands in His Pockets). In 1927 Azaiia helped to found 
the political party known as Action RepuUicana (Republican Action). 
He was aided in this enterprise by several other intellectuals, including 
his friend Jose Giral Pereira, who later was to hold high office in the 
Republic Minister of the Navy, Minister of State, and even Prime 
Minister in the early months of the Civil War. A professor of pharma- 
ceutical chemistry at the University of Madrid, Giral had a pharmacy 
on Atocha Street, where the group held its first meetings. Action 
ReyuHicana was a wholly new party, dedicated to a high code of 
political and moral ethics. Through this party, through the Ateneo to 
whose presidency he was elected in 1930 he had been its general 
secretary from 1913 to 1919 and through the Revolutionary Com- 
mittee, Azana was to play his part in bringing about the Republic. 
Much of this activity was done under cover, and later he had to go 
into hiding when he was sought by the police. 

In April of 1927, the same year in which Action RefuUicana was 
born, Azana published in Madrid his first full-length original non- 
academic work, the first twelve of its nineteen chapters having been 
published earlier in La fluma: the initial installment in the September, 
1921, issue, and the eighth and last in the June, 1922, issue. The book 
is a remarkable blend of autobiography and fiction entitled El jardin 
de los frailes (Garden of the Monks), which was, by the way, dedi- 
cated to Rivas Cherif . This work is the key to some of the concepts 
of state and patriotism that were to guide Azana's actions in high politi- 
cal office less than five years later. Though it is generally considered 
to be his best work, and was his own favorite among his books, El 
jardin de los frailes was not widely read. For that matter, none of 
Azafia's writings has ever been widely read. Few people took this work 
any more seriously than another accurate projection of personality by 
another rising head of state was taken: Hitler 1 s Mein Kampfnot that 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

these two books Lad anything else in common beyond their obsessive- 
ness, the one with the influence of the Catholic church and the other 
with the power of the Jews. Any such comparison reveals, moreover, 
that at bottom Azana was an aesthete whose language and style were 
almost as important to him as the substance of his narrative. To this 
day El jardin de los frailes is looked upon as a quaint stylistic exercise, 
product of a period when "confessions" were in vogue: those who have 
studied the book have done so in the light of literature. Neglected by 
the historians, this work contains some of the very same phrases to be 
declaimed by Azana on the floor of the Spanish Cortes; and between 
the lines it tells as much about the future of its author and of the 
Republic as it does of his past. 

El jardin de los frailes is an objective presentation of a subjective 
matter Azana's days as a student at the Augustinian school in the 
Escorial. Despite his anecdotal approach to the narrative, these con- 
fessions are only mildly entertaining. As reminiscences they are 
neither humorous nor nostalgic, and even the title seems tongue-in- 
cheek; more appropriately it might have been something like "The 
Forging of a Rebel/ 1 From a literary point of view, the chief merit of 
this narrative is its impeccable prose, but its core is a commentary on 
religious education in Spain. 

Azana condemns as decadent a society whose educational system is 
bound to the church-state. As he saw it, the whole educational process 
there in the monastery school was a fraud, and the teachers, grotesque. 
The author is not afraid to paint himself in a bad light, because he 
implies that the school itself was responsible for turning him inward. 
"I loved things a lot/' he writes, "but hardly ever my neighbors. . . . 
I loved my books, and the room in which I used to read, and its light, 
its smell." Azana was not made for the solitude of a cell, yet here was 
where his scholarly bent announced itself (for learning is basically an 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

asocial process), even though the development of a critical sense was 
discouraged and even forbidden: "We learned to refute Kant with five 
points, and Hegel, and Comte, and so many more. We used to oppose 
the erroneous assaults with good objections: 1. It is contrary to the 
teachings of the church; 2. it leads straight to pantheism; and other 
puncture-proof reasons." 

So the sensitive young man, frustrated, lonesome, and bored, soon 
saw in those massive rocks of the Escorial a jail, and himself as the 
unjustly condemned. "To think nostalgically of school days," he ob- 
serves, "is a mental aberration because among students, bestial instincts 
come to the fore." The reader learns that not the least of these "bestial 
instincts" was a widespread sexuality. Also Azana affirms that all 
the students at the school were only lukewarm believers, and none 
of them saw a refuge of repose, peace, or consolation in their religious 
beliefs or practice. Only the landscape and the change of seasons gave 
any measure of direction to this young man's confused spirit. "I have 
dreamed of destroying all this world," he concludes. Later, as Prime 
Minister of the Republic, he was to have his opportunity to do so. 

Undoubtedly the most explicit pages are the ones which Azana 
devotes to religious doctrine. The school worked the opposite of its 
goal in young. Manuel. There where he had time and solitude to think 
and to examine his religious precepts, he passed through certain spir- 
itual crises not dissimilar to those of Unamuno at a later age; and he 
concluded that his own faith lacked originality. There at the Escorial 
he rebelled at the supernatural simplified, in order to put it within 
reach of human understanding, and he lost his religion along with his 
concept of Spain as a continuation of the Catholic monarchy of the 
sixteenth century. Before his days at the Escorial, he had simply gone 

Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

along with the religious current, so to speak, ever since a paddle had 
been put in his hand at an early age. Unaware where or how he had 
received his fundamental notions of faith, he knew only that they 
manifested themselves in the form of lists committed to memory, recit- 
able with not more nor less emotion or understanding than the lists of 
the Visigothic kings. Thus he began to doubt a faith that seemed pre- 
fabricated; and, even more important, he became convinced that the 
pure Christian the orthodox Catholic, the ascetic, the one preoccupied 
with his own salvation and the hereafter-is an anti-citizen, for pure 
faith is unsociable. "It is not useful in the republic; it neither strength- 
ens its sovereignty nor defends it." Let us hear him out (El jardin de 
los frailes, p. 157): "His [the pure Christian's] greatest victory is the 
one over himself; it is more important to him to conquer the enemies 
of his soul than those of the state. The simple Christian, humble and 
poor, a model of meekness, is not a citizen. Charity goes against the 
state, proud imposer of obligations. The Christian heart, self-driven 
to enter the realm of God, destroys civic motivation; that same Christian 
heart loves its neighbor even though the latter fights under another flag. 
The mendicant, the hermit, what society do they found? For what 
undertaking can they be counted on?" 

Thus Azana formulates his ideas on limiting the influence of the 
church in his republic. The line of thought is developed somewhat 
as follows: (1) human dignity exists only in a free state, a republic; 
(2) in order to perpetuate itself, a republic, more than any other form 
of government, requires good citizens; (3) responsible citizenship and 
patriotism are incompatible with Catholicism; ergo (4) in a republic, 
the influence of the church must be limited. Though most Christians 
are not so overwhelmed by their faith as is Azana's pure Christian, still 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Azafia might have found validity in Voltaire's statement that whenever 
one can say of any state of life that if everyone embraced it, the human 
race would be lost, it is demonstrated that the state is worthless, and 
that he who embraces it, does harm to die human race. Applied to the 
monastic life, in fact to Azana's teachers at the Escorial, the argument 
might seem irresistible. It is not surprising that the author of El jardin 
de los frailes would one day argue in favor of Article 26 of the Republi- 
can Constitution by affirming that "Spain has ceased to be Catholic/* 
even though this famous utterance has been misinterpreted out of 

As an autobiography, El jardin de los frailes is relatively short, yet 
dense: taut, coldly intellectual, analytical, its dry bones of logic scraped 
clean of the slightest imperfection of prose. Manuel Azafia acts now 
as a writer who is sure of himself, contemptuous of all that is common- 
place or sentimental. Yet with its learned vocabulary and complicated 
sentence structure, his book is too perfect an example of "fine" writing 
ever to have any extensive popular appeal. Its elegant prosiness rarely 
relieved by dialogue, chained to form and excessive pure description, 
with the rotund sentences where adjective is piled upon adjective and 
a comma is never so good as a semicolon, the narrative is lost in a jungle 
of eloquent discourse, almost rhetoric, of the type in which Azana was 
to excel in the years to come. If the book foretells Azana's insistence 
on the separation of church and state, a program whose repercussions 
shook the whole edifice of the Republic, it likewise presages the forensic 
capacities of the Republic's master orator, 

Of equal autobiographical value, but of far less literary significance, 
is Azana's first and only play, La corona. Published for the first time in 
1928 in Madrid, La corona came in the wake of El jardin de los fraiks. 

Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

It is a curious work, to which Azana appended a short one-act farce 
entitled Entremes* del sereno? A sereno in Spain is a species of public 
night-watchman who lets you in your own house late at night. The 
custom began centuries ago when keys were too large and too heavy 
to be carried on one's person. Honesty is the only real qualification 
for the position, whose perquisites are few. Frequently old and un- 
tutored, often accused of being deaf, inasmuch as he is summoned by 
three claps of the hands, the sereno has long been rendered with humor 
in Spanish letters, The less said about Azafia's comic endeavor, the 
better. Little more can be said for the obviously poetic theme of La 
corona, but, to anyone who would study the rising political star of 
Manuel Azaria, the political aspects of this play are just as revealing as 
were the religious ones of El jardin de los frailes. 

The play is dedicated to L. R. G, the L standing for Lola, nick- 
name of Dolores Rivas Cherif, who was to become Azana's wife the 
following year. In a still-unpublished letter dated May 25, 1928, 
Azana wrote to Miguel de Unamuno: "Tambien he caido en la tenta- 
cion de escribir para el teatro, y he hecho un drama; pero hasta ahora 
no encuentro quien lo represente. En fin, por hacer de todo, y esto 
si que es dramatico, creo que voy a casarme, probablemente en el otono! 
Ya es hora de que Primo de Rivera y yo, sentemos la cabeza!" ("I too 
have fallen into the temptation of writing for the theater, and I have 

2 For the reader who perhaps has eaten entremeses, a kind of Spanish antipasto, but 
who has never read nor seen an entremes, it may be well to explain that the word has two 
uses. In the literary sense it means a one-act interlude, usually a farce, in verse or in prose, 
and one which emphasizes local color. It is frequently presented between the acts of a 
standard-length play. 

3 This entremes was transplanted into Italian and in 1933 appeared undet the tide of 
Intermezzo madrileno in Vol. 33 of the Cpllezione del teatro comico e cLmmmatico, pub- 
lished in Florence. Of incidental interest, in the same small tome is a three-act short play 
by Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, a Spanish bullfighter. Such unlikely company for a work by 
Azana may throw some doubt upon its worth. This now rare item in Italian may be 
found at the New York Public Library. 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

done a drama; but up till now I have not found anybody to stage it. 
What is more, to try everything, and this really is dramatic, I think I 
am going to get married, probably next autumn! [Actually the mar- 
riage did not take place until February 27, 1929.] It is high time for 
Primo de Rivera and me to settle down!")- It will be remembered that 
Dofia Dolores was the youngest sister of Cipriano Rivas Cherif, 
Azana s long-time friend. 

Inasmuch as Cipriano Rivas Cherif had become, in 1930, director 
of the Teatro Espanol in Madrid, which by the way is still in opera- 
tion and state subsidized, he managed to arrange what turned out to 
be a short run of La corona at the Teatro Espanol. By the date of the 
Madrid premiere, April 12, 1932, the Republic was entrenched and 
Azana had become a public figure. 

Four months earlier La corona had been given a trial run at the 
Teatro Goya in Barcelona. Having just become Prime Minister, Azana 
received an enthusiastic reception in Barcelona when he arrived to 
witness the first performance of his play, which he viewed from the 
audience rather than from the wings. The performance disappointed 
him, however, not because his good friend, the well-known Catalonian 
actress Margarita Xirgu, failed to charm as leading lady, or because 
Rivas Cherif lacked ardor in his duties of director, but because the 
theater-goers that night interpreted the play as a political rather than 
dramatic or poetic work. 

When La corona came to Madrid in April, many of the chief figures 
of government and the Cortes were among the first nighters at the 
Teatro Espanol, which faces the little square named Plaza de Santa 
Ana, not far from either the Ateneo or the Cortes. This time Azana 
stationed himself behind the scenes, instead of in the audience, in 
order that the audience focus its attention on the play rather than on 
him as its author and prime magistrate of the Republic. Still, he 

Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

appeared on stage after the first act to acknowledge the applause, and 
at the end he joined Margarita Xirgu and the cast for curtain calls. 
After the play had run for a polite period, it was then published for a 
second time on May 14, 1932, minus the entremes. This second 
edition lists the names of the cast who acted the play at the Teatro 

La corona elicited praise from Enrique Diez-Canedo, the eminent 
critic, linguist, and creative writer in his own right, who at the time 
was Ae drama critic for El sol of Madrid, and who was later to hecome 
the Republic's ambassador to Argentina and Uruguay. Diez-Canedo 
had been a contributor to both La pluma and Espana, as well as a 
contertuliano of Azana. 4 After the premiere of the play in 1932, Diez- 
Canedo reproduced an article that he had written for El sol on July 26 7 
1930, as a review of the first edition of the play. To this reproduction 
he added only that the presentation of La corona on the stage did not 
modify in any way his first and favorable impression. Other reviewers 
like Melchor Fernandez Almagro, Luis Calvo, and Antonio Espina 
were equally polite, but, subsequent to the almost occasion-of-state of 
the first night, the public itself could hardly be enthusiastic over the 
long tedious scenes of La corona; and the play became a vehicle for 
much nasty derision of Azaiia in publications by his political and mili- 
tary adversaries. With the exception of a subsequent performance 
organized in Mexico by the Republic's ambassador of the time, Julio 
Alvarez del Vayo, there is no evidence to indicate that Azana's play 
was ever presented again anywhere, though Azana tried unsuccessfully 
to have the French translation by Jean Cassou and Jean Camp staged 

4 Other prominent members of the same tertulia, which met in the Cafe Regina, were 
VaUe Inclan (when he was in Madrid), Luis Bello, Martin Luis Guzman (the Mexican 
writer), Luis Araquistain, Gregorio Maranon (cousin of the well-known physician), 
Sindulfo de la Fuente (well liked by Azana), Luis Garcia Bilbao, Ricardo Gutierrez, Juan 
Echevarria, Amos Salvador (benefactor of La $lumd) t and of course Cipriano Rivas Ghent. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

in Paris in 1939. Friend Rivas Cherif still insists that La corona is one 
of the best Spanish plays of the twentieth century. 

Apparently Azana was attempting a tragedy in the classic tradition 
but fell short of the mark. The characters are more interesting than 
the plot. 5 Azana speaks through both Lorenzo and Aurelio, whose 
respective roles of idealist and realist are mainly a composite of the 
author's own interior tug of war. To begin with, Lorenzo is another 
ex-seminarist Lorenzo el Estudiante, he is called his idealism remi- 
niscent of the seminarist in Valera's Pepita Jimenez, which Azana had 
of course studied; in other ways, Lorenzo is a later portrayal of the 
other seminarist who passed through the Garden of the Monks. The 
blend personifies in Lorenzo an awakened, but frustrated, ambition 
together with an idealism run rampant. 

It is seldom in complimentary fashion that a man is termed ambi- 
tious. This is wrong. Since few leaders of state attain their post by 
chance, a man can best be judged by his conduct after his ambitions 
have been realized. In spite of the accusations of his enemies, Azana 
was never a tyrant, never seized the reins of absolute and undemocratic 
power, as he had ample opportunity to do. If he was ambitious, it was 
therefore a healthy, positive ambition, one of ultimate benefit to his 
fellow men, for all peoples need leaders. In the case of the ambitious 
Lorenzo, no final judgment can be cast, for he dies far short of achiev- 
ing his ambitions. Still, his obsession with power is easily, though 

5 It is the end of a civil war, with no time nor place specified. The deposed princess 
and heir to the throne, Diana, is fleeing through the wild mountains with her devoted 
champion, Lorenzo "the student." They are trapped by the revolutionaries, headed by 
Aurefio, who have won the day. The price for Lorenzo's life is Diana's acceptance of the 
crown, at the insistence of Aurelio, who can thus become the power behind the throne. 
Diana adapts herself to circumstances in royal fashion, but the idealistic Lorenzo becomes 
increasingly morose and will accept nothing less than her elopement with him if she truly 
loves him. She refuses. He threatens. She, angered, summons aid. When Lorenzo draws 
his sword against Aurelio, Diana screams for hdp. Two men assail Lorenzo and kill him. 
Now Diana falls on the inert body of Lorenzo, but in grief, and shouting "assassins" as 
the final curtain comes down. 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

perhaps exaggeratedly, identifiable with presumably similar drives in 
his creator, as when in Act I, Scene II, Lorenzo rants: "I dreamed of 
commanding! Innumerable armies! Squadrons on the seas! And also 
a peaceful kingdom, new cities and great monuments erected by me." 
Maybe an understanding Diana might have changed all this. And in 
the final scene of the last act, Lorenzo says, like Don Quijote, "I know 
who I am," the much commented-on phrase which Azana himself 
classifies in one of his essays (La invention del Quijote) as "the dogma 
of free will of one's own conscience/' In Scene II of Act I, Lorenzo 
summarizes his status: 'The soldiers gave me the nickname of Student, 
because they knew that I escaped from the seminary to enlist. It would 
be better to call me the savage." Azana in his own way "escaped" from 
the Garden of the Monks and remained the perpetual student, yet one 
with strong military and political interests. In the final scenes of the 
play, Lorenzo appears to be impelled by his passion for Diana, but then 
maybe he is merely reacting from offended pride. This self-confessed 
man of action must impose his will, must dominate, for in the first 
scene of the play he had said: "I am not made for obedience. I only 
know how to command." This Lorenzo, who has shot two ministers of 
state, is more intransigent than compassionate a reputation that Azana 
was to acquire by reason of his own words, although a false reputation 
on the basis of his deeds. 

If Lorenzo personifies frustrated ambition, Aurelio represents ambi- 
tion fulfilled; and in Act II, Scene I, Aurelio gives his formula for 

War and politics are the same thing, at least in my life. War is a 
normal happening in politics, even though it may not be customary. I 
have always made war on my country when I have not been able 
to make politics [policy] in any other way. You know that in politics 
and in war our dearest thoughts, the most subtle calculations, depend 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

on the collaboration of others. The other man is stupid, and thoughts 
fail My prudence, others give it an uglier name, consists of calculating 
the stupidity of the other man. 

The real-life Azana used to bark like this too, but his bark was more 
fearful than his bite. Azana's literary strong men mirror a vicarious, 
but mistaken, projection of himself, for he really presented only the 
veneer to his own inner sensitive and yielding nature. How often on 
the floor of the Cortes Azana gained his triumphs principally by means 
of an effective haughty disdain of the opposition! To this extent, 
Aurelio is a part of Azana, the fagade for deeper Lorenzo-like qualities, 

Although Azana always disclaimed having endowed the work with 
political meaning, much less Spanish political meaning, a neat bit 
of symbolism leaps from the pages of La corona if one wants to 
imagine it, as perhaps the audiences in Barcelona and Madrid did. 
The play can be conveniently interpreted as a symbol of the condi- 
tions against which Azana struggled, if it is allowable that Lorenzo 
is Azana: Diana represents the weak-willed King Alfonso XIII; Aurelio 
symbolizes the harsh and crafty Primo de Rivera, the improvised power 
behind the nominal throne who says that truth is impractical: ". * , 
I have learned that intelligence does not serve to find truth, but to 
lead one through life" (Act III, Scene III). Other aspects of the 
drama fall in line, like the mentality of the police state, personified in 
the conscienceless Minister of Police. Also recall Azana's previous 
attempts, in La pluma, to write anachronistic and apocryphal political 
literature in the fashion of Swift. The name of the play itself is 
revealing and exemplifies one of the two figures of speech prominent 
in Azana's prose and oratory: metonymy and synecdoche. In nearly 
all his many later references to the Spanish monarchy, he was to use 
crown to the almost total exclusion of monarch or king or queen, 
perhaps with some psychological carryover from the play. 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

All in all, it is a stiff play, replete with commonplaces and character- 
istically wordy, with more mouthed dialogue than action. Not even 
the love scenes offer respite from the tedious dialogue, and the whole 
of the work seems contrived. Azana had no more lyric gift than 
another old bachelor writer named Pio Baroja, who was able neverthe- 
less to excel in his profession, as Azana might have done had he not 
been swept away by the capricious winds of politics. If women seldom 
appear in Azana's works, this is all the more reason to consider Diana 
a symbol One thing is certain: she is not a credible portrayal of Dona 
Dolores, even if Lorenzo's words of love are Don Manuel's. Obviously 
Azana lacked direction in his literary endeavors. He had no talent for 
playwriting and little insight for the forging of dramatic characters. 
In a word, La corona is pedestrian. One does not know what the play 
is about until he has made his way through ten long pages. The 
dialogue reads as if it were oratory, and the lovers reason the nature 
of their love in parliamentary style. Dreams of political grandeur fill 
the stage. Even the vocabulary is predominantly political, with constant 
repetition of words like politico, revolution, legal, policia, oposicion, 
libelos, orden, Estado, Gobierno, libertad, guerra, facciones, partido, 
constitution, parlamento, ley, pueblo, ministrosond ambition. La 
corona is, therefore, a revealing psychological document on its author, 
even if it is not a good play. 

Azana and some friends, including Valle Inclan and Rivas Cherif , 
once formed a theatrical group which met at the house of the Baroja 
brothers. The members of El Mirlo Blanco, as the group was called, 
used to write pieces, and the group would act them out. Though for 
a long time Azana did not write anything he also preferred to watch 
rather than act just before the group disbanded he had written a 
play, one of whose roles he was going to interpret for the members. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Almost surely this play was La corona, though no one knows which 
role he had planned to act. 

As an impersonator Azana had already made his mark with this 
theatrical group. The occasion yields a significant anecdote. Once 
Ricardo Baroja s wife, Carmen, suggested that the group give a masked 
ball. A ball with intellectuals like the gruff Pio Baroja and the gaunt 
Valle Inclan wearing masks should be amusing indeed. Plans were 
made, the party was held at the Baroja residence, everybody came, and 
the affair was a great success. Valle Inclan was dressed as a Leonese 
villager. Dolores Rivas Cherif arrived in early nineteenth-century 
formal attire. Most of the disguises were routine ones, without psycho- 
logical clue to their wearers' inner preoccupations. When the dancing 
and gaiety were at their peak, suddenly the door opened and there 
entered an elegantly garbed cardinal. With an imposing air the 
cardinal flung back his cape to extend a hand on which shone a 
colossal ring. That cardinal was Azana, with the best and most 
original disguise of all. Each of the ladies kissed the ring, and so 
solemn was the whole proceeding that for a time some of them almost 
believed it was a real cardinal. After the ecclesiastic had been identified 
and duly admired, the party resumed. Azana chatted a long time with 
Dona Dolores that night while the others danced. Her saint's day 
came soon afterward, and he sent her a big bouquet. Subsequently 
they became novios. 

Not in vain did Manuel Azana dedicate La corona in 1928 to 
Dolores Rivas Cherif, because the marriage vows were exchanged on 
Wednesday, February 27, 1929, the date inscribed inside the gold 
band which Sra. de Azana still (1963) wears on her right hand, in 
accordance with Spanish custom. It was a formal wedding at the 
Church of San Jeronimo in Madrid, with reception and banquet after- 
wards at the still-fashionable Hotel Ritz, followed by a honeymoon in 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

Paris. (During that honeymoon Don Cipriano himself married and 
soon after took a theatrical company to Buenos Aires, whence he 
returned to Madrid ten months later with his first born.) Born of a 
good family, whose now ramshackle castle still stands in Villalba de 
los Alcores, in the province of Valladolid, Dolores Rivas Cherif was 
then a short but handsome woman, very sensitive, and the baby of the 
family. Though she was about twenty-two years younger than her 
49-yearold husband, Dolores de Azana developed all the tact and 
grace befitting the social position to which Manuel Azana was to 
rise. Later the eminent portrait painter Lopez Mezquita captured her 
charm in a fine canvas, which today looks down from a wall in the 
dining room of Sra. de Azana's tiny apartment in Mexico City, where 
she lives widowed and in exile. Don Manuel, unendowed with either 
athletic physique or pleasing physiognomy, was a fortunate man to 
win such an alluring young wife. Even though the marriage was not 
sudden they had been engaged since the previous April it astounded 
Azana's acquaintances who had seen in him only the perpetual 
bachelor. The wedding ceremony was a Catholic one. The couple 
became very much devoted to each other despite their differences in 
religious outlook. To this day, Dona Dolores, wife of him who uttered 
on the floor of the Cortes "Spain has ceased to be Catholic/' remains 
Catholic in her religious practices. She and her husband always re- 
spected each other's religious outlook, as the peculiar circumstances 
of Manuel's death in 1940 will reveal. 

The couple established themselves at Calle de Hermosilla 24 
duplicado in Madrid, and Manuel Azana returned to his accustomed 
activities. In the summer of 1929, his Spanish translation, La carroza 
del Santisimo, of a play by Merimee was presented at the Teatro Maipo 
in Buenos Aires (but never published, so far as can be ascertained). 
Then in 1930 he published two books. This was also the year in which 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

the Ateneo elected Azana to its presidency, a key post in the incubation 
of the coming Republic, which in 1930 was only a year away. 

The first of these books in 1930 (it bears the date November 25) 
is only an oddity, another of Azana's many translations: Antologla 
negra, translated from the original French work by Blaise Cendrars 
and published by Editorial Cenit of Madrid. This book holds nothing 
of general relevance to the thought of Azana, as for example La BiUia 
en Espana certainly did, nor does he give his translation any prologue, 
introduction, or preliminary note of comment or explanation. Antologia 
negra is simply a fanciful collection of animal fables, folklore, anecdotal 
and moral tales, refrains or proverbs, and allegorical legends of the 
creation of mankind. The book is a hard-to-find item today, but one 
of interest principally to the folklorist. 

The other work bears the attractive title Plumas y paldbras and was 
published by Compania Iberoamericana de Publicaciones in Madrid. 
It is a collection of essays, almost all of which had already been pub- 
lished in La pluma and Espana. These essays in Plumas y palabras 
consist mostly of critical comment, in the negative sense of the word. 
Azana was wont to assume that once the negative aspects of certain 
problems of literature and society were exposed, positive solutions 
would spring from the intelligence. Manuel Azana really believed that 
the intellect, and only the intellect, could solve most of the problems 
of civilization. In this lie clashes with Unamuno. How often the words 
inteligente and inteligencia are to be found in these essays and in all 
the speeches and writings of Azana! Man had only to be intelligent 
and reasonable. Six years hence, the greatest acts of unreason were 
to be called the Spanish Civil War. 

Among these essays of Plumas y palahras is his review of a play, 
Asdepigenia, by Juan Valera, which was a lecture that Azana had 
given in Madrid on December 27, 1928. In another essay, he speaks 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

again of "Jorge Borrow y la Billia en Espana" that George Borrow 
whom Azaiia saw as a kind of Don Quijote, and whose book, he 
reiterates, is not only true, but revealing, and a work of art. Azafia 
writes also about such various matters as the Moors in literature and 
history; about the blameworthy Spanish custom of removing bones 
to other final resting places; about political bosses; about the problems 
of the governmental civil service (a system which he says ought to 
be reorganized); about his disdain of celebrities; about the death 
penalty; and about the institution of literary prizes, which he condemns 
as commercialization, even though, let it be remembered, he had won 
and accepted such a prize himself. To write with money as a goal, he 
says, is "detestable." 

An underlying theme in most of the other essays is the question of 
individual freedom. His own intellectual and political liberty is 
Manuel Azana's most insistent personal aspiration: he is a ' Violent 
democrat," inflexible within the limits of his rights and what is right. 
But he wonders whether Spaniards are, by temperament, naturally 
opposed to a freedom more general than their own haughty individual 
independence; that is, can the Spaniard be taught to rise above his 
inclination to be a spectator, in order to establish and perpetuate a 
liberal society in Spain? He was surely not thinking of himself when 
he gave the answer in La velada en Benicarlo, that pathetic analysis 
which he wrote during the Civil War and wherein he concluded that 
the Spaniard, so jealous of his own liberty as a person, hates the 
freedom of his neighbor a kind of national psychosis that was the 
fundamental cause of the situation which led to the Civil War. Yet, 
in words if not acts, it is possible that Azaiia too shares the trait and 
hence a part of the blame. In one of the essays here, "La inteligencia 
y el caracter en la action politica," he characterizes himself as follows: 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

I am not indulgent, I do not compromise, I do not pardon, ... I 
practice the Calderonian rule of upsetting the table if someone in 
front of me upsets a chair [slightly misquoted from Calderon] .... 

For me, political action is a defensive movement of intelligence, in 
opposition to the domination of error. Any political struggle, stripped 
of appearances, resolves itself into a contest between what is true 
and what is false .... Only the one who is possessed of the truth 
can be intransigent, fanatical .... 

But whose truth? What is this absolute truth, what are the timeless 
abstract axioms for which Azana would subjugate a thousand private 
liberties? To the extent that he denied compromise of conflicting truths, 
until it was too late, Azana remained always a naive politician, for com- 
promise in political life does not necessarily eliminate either intelligence 
or honor from political processes; rather, it gives them the measure of 
practicality necessary for stability of government. Although in affairs 
of state Azana was not to prove so absolutely inflexible as he wished 
to seem, still it is obvious from his pre-1931 writings that he at least 
attempted to do in government very nearly what he had studied and 
planned for and he remained forever convinced that inflexibility was 
a product of intelligence. In these essays and elsewhere, most of 
Azana's political discussions devolve to questions of ethics, rather than 
to the exhibition of sound knowledge of theories of political science. 
He believes in concepts like liberty, suffrage, constitution, citizenship, 
separation of church and state, and assumes that all intelligent people 
will ultimately accept them through the process of reason; meanwhile 
he laments that "one must go around explaining the most elementary 
things to the people/' 

The fact is that Azana can never be said to be identified with the 
people, if this means the workers, the proletariat, whose increasing 
power he came to fear. Recall his previous failures to win any political 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

election. The only elections lie Lad ever won were those in the Ateneo, 
from whose halls he vaulted straight into those of the Ministry of War 
when the Republic was declared. Nor was he ever tempted by com- 
munism, whose only Marxian precept he shared was possibly the one 
about religion being the opiate of the people. He favored all efforts to 
improve the economic lot of the workers and peasants, even so far as 
the redistribution of lands, but his was always the larger aim of creating 
better citizens, rather than the specific one of filling stomachs. To 
Azana republicanism stood for the orderly exercise of civil rights. With 
the raging waters of dissent thus well dammed by solid constitutional 
bulkheads of truth, with the storm clouds of militarism blown from the 
Spanish landscape, well-defined currents of parliamentarianism should 
guide an even stream of economic progress from the pacific reservoir 
of good will, a steady rate of flow judiciously (intelligently!) guaran- 
teed by the ministers of state at the sluice gates. Quite unlike most 
reformists, who anticipate a stable citizenry to be possible only when 
hunger has ceased to be a major problem, Azana expected his stabilized 
economy to be the result of stable civic virtues. Physically comfortable 
himself, Azana clung to a republicanism which was largely an aspirant 
democratic state of mind reflecting his own. But intellectuals, by them- 
selves, are never a sufficient force to carry a revolution, because comfort 
is not essential to them. Therefore, even if Azana had not been com- 
fortable, it would scarcely have occurred to him that most revolutions 
commence when the proletariat revolts against hopeless economic, 
rather than civil, conditions. It cannot be reiterated too often that to 
create and perpetuate an orderly, intelligent, aware, and responsible 
Spanish citizenry was Azana s greatest general political ambition, his 
most specific ambition being a reorganization of the army. That the 
improvement of workers' economic conditions was not his 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

aim, is implicit in his recurring statement that "liberty does not make 
men happy; it simply makes them men/' 

If, in Azana's opinion, an institution like the church opposed the 
kind of progress he thought essential to the training of this radically 
improved citizenry, whose first loyalty was to its state, then the church 
must go. Thus, as he says in the essay "Una constitution en busca de 
autor" (A Constitution in Search of an Author shades of Pirandello!), 
his opposition to the church in Spain is not based on theological hatred; 
it is simply an attitude of reason. When this article first appeared in 
the January 12, 1924, issue of Esyaw, it ignited a polemic which 
enlivened future issues of that and other periodicals. As the reader 
might expect, Azana was not loath to fire broadsides at the church from 
Plumas y yaldbras. In one essay, "Los curas oprimidos" (The Oppressed 
Priests), he explains why the clergy should cease complaining that it 
is oppressed; then in the next article he speaks out against the wealth 
of the church in Spain. 

The two best essays are the first and the last, the last entitled simply 
"Madrid," originally serialized in La plwna and praised by several 
critics as the best essajr ever written on Madrid. Azana takes his reader 
on a verbal Cook's tour of the back streets, where we meet various 
interesting types, ride on Madrid's street cars, see its animals and 
vehicles, learn its history (or lack of history), praise or condemn its 
weather, and, incidentally, learn some of the habits of one of its 
dwellers, Manuel Azana, who does not attend the theater or tertulias 
(so he says) or the bullfights or church functions, but who does take 
long walks during the day in the winter, or at night in the summer, 
to infuse his spirit with the sights, smells, and noises of the city. 
^ The first essay, over one hundred pages in length and entitled simply 
"El Idemwn de Ganivet," is a classic debunking of Ganivet's Idearium 
esfanol Very little known, this brilliant work by Azana ought to be 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

studied by every student of Spanish literature who would claim a 
knowledge of the so-called Generation of 1898, among whose avant- 
garde, criticized by Azana, are counted Angel Ganivet, Joaquin Costa, 
and Miguel de Unamuno. It goes without saying that a writer's identi- 
fication with a given school is usually by others' ascription, rather than 
by the individual writer's subscription (otherwise, for example, there 
have been no existentialists in Spain, and few in France!); but of all 
the literary schools or coteries of the nineteenth and twentieth cen- 
turies in Spain, the Generation of '98 as a body has emerged with the 
least attack from critics, scholars, and fellow writers, despite the fact 
that Azorin peddled copious dull prose as poetic writing, Valle Inclan 
stole whole sections intact from Casanova's Memoirs, Baroja wrote 
more hack novels than inspired ones, and Unamuno well, he alone has 
been brought to task from several quarters: by scholars like Ronald 
Hilton, by creative writers like Ramon Sender, and by the church. 
Although some literary historians categorize Azana himself as one of 
the '98-ists, perhaps because of his advocacy of a Europeanization of 
Spain, of housecleaning in the Spanish social structure and in the 
governmental superstructure, Azana himself never spoke well of the 
J 98-ists as a group. As he points out in another of the essays in Plumas 
y yalalras entitled "jTodavia el '98!" (Still the '98!), the '98-ists did 
no more than transform literary values; aside from this, they neither 
pinpointed nor solved the major difficulties of Spain: they tore down 
old edifices but rebuilt nothing. Specifically, Azana regarded Ganivet 
as an immature pessimist, who, lacking in both technique and informa- 
tion, should have lived more before he philosophized. 

Azana dissects the Idearium by working from the general to the 
specific. Anyone who has studied Azafia's scholarly works, like the 
treatise on French military policy, and knows his fetish of fact and 
logic, might guess that straightaway Azana will accuse Ganivet of 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

vagueness, sentimentalism, and an insufficiency of analysis, which 
leads to arbitrary conclusions. To put it more plainly, Ganivet is 
uninformed, Las not read and observed enough to give his conclusions 
substance of argument. Among the specific points that Azana rejects 
is the theory of "senequismo" (Seneca-ism), a stoic quality attributed 
to the Spanish people by Ganivet. Instead Azana believes that his- 
torically the Spanish spirit has been infused with the will to found 
( a la voluntad de fundar"\ exemplified in founders like Santa Teresa 
and Cortes. Nor will Azana allow Ganivet's claim to have lived in a 
spiritually decadent epoch, wherein is conceded more importance to 
the railroad than to works of art. No enemy of material progress in 
the manner of Ganivet or Unamuno, who seemed to think all engineers 
were uncultured and who defined sociologists as the alchemists and 
astrologers of the twentieth century, Azafta insists that civilization does 
not have to choose between what is beautiful and what is useful, to 
the detriment of one or the other. Azana also disagrees with Ganivet's 
childish point of view on the inevitable emancipation of women, which, 
since it is inevitable, Ganivet sees as a consequent debasement of men 
and society in general, as if it were a question of balancing a scales. 
When the career woman is no longer a rarity, but a commonplace, 
says Ganivet, "it will be necessary to ask Providence to send us a 
new invasion of male and female barbarians \barbaras, a pun], 
because, carried to the extreme, barbarity is preferable to absurdity." 
Strong words, yet the weakest argument in his book. Ganivet is 
equally narrow in the amount of religious freedom he would allow, 
because of his belief that any constructive force of the national char- 
acter is based upon the pillars of tradition. Naturally Azana, critic of 
the church and its intolerance, was to take him to task here. In fact, 
Azana's main course of rebuttal throughout is to maintain that solutions 
to the matters which Ganivet discusses are not so simple, as well as to 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

demonstrate the difficulty of what are apparently the simplest problems 
in Spain. Azafia concludes, therefore, that the Uearium espanol is 
for the semi-cultured public and that its worth is "equal to the sum 
of its readers' ignorance." 

Accordingly Unamuno becomes an antagonist of Azaiia, for 
Unamuno praised the Idearium and was, besides, an intimate friend 
of Ganivet, with whom he exchanged many personal letters after 
their university days, and whose suicide Unamuno lamented publicly 
in his numerous articles and essays. Azafia was well aware that 
Unamuno not only admired Ganivet's works but tended to support 
some of Ganivet's theories, like the one about the Seneca complex of 
the Spanish people. 

Sooner or laterit might as well be nowwe ought to examine, 
however briefly, the relationship between these two men of diametri- 
cally opposed temperament, the one (Unamuno) an austere kind of 
grass-roots nationalist with a primitive instinct of religion, and the 
other an internationalist and a fastidious cosmopolitan with a rational- 
istic mind totally unawed by Unamuno's tragic sense of life. Unamuno 
and Azafia knew each other in the Ateneo, and later in the Cortes, 
as well as elsewhere. Among Unamuno's mass of correspondence he 
saved everythingwhich his daughter Felisa and Professor Garcia 
Blanco of the University of Salamanca have sorted and arranged in a 
neat file at the Casa Rectoral in Salamanca, there are eighteen un- 
published letters from Manuel Azafia, two undated and the rest dated 
as follows: June 25, 1918; December 19, 1918; September 10, 1920; 
February 22, 1921; August 2, 1921; August 23 ? 1921; January 17, 
1923; March 14, 1923; June 15, 1923; July 8, 1923; August 6, 1923; 
October 26, 1923; November 2, 1923; December 22, 1923; January 12, 
1924; May 25, 1928. Incidentally the file also shows forty-two letters 
from Cipriano Rivas Cherif . All but one of the letters from Azafia 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

are handwritten; many of them request articles from Unamuno for 
La yluma and, later, Esyana. For example, in the letter dated January 
12, 1924, and written on stationery with the letterhead of the Minis- 
terio de Gracia y Justicia, Direccion General de los Registros y del 
Notariado, where Azana was employed ? Azana announces that in 
today's mail he is sending to Unamuno a check for seventy-five pesetas 
for an article, and also that Unamuno's article on "El socialismo 
politico espanol" was killed by the censor. 

The Azana correspondence shows that before the advent of the 
Republic, his relations with Unamuno were politely cordial. But the 
dogmatic nature of each of those men made a clash inevitable. Every- 
body knew that Azaiia's blade could be sharp, though he usually 
dulled the edge before he struck at Unamuno, whom he obviously 
respected as a worthy opponent. Right here in Plumas y yalabras, 
for example, is an eight-page article about Unamuno entitled "The 
Lion, Don Quijote, and the Lion Keeper," in which Azana reproaches 
Unamuno for not living up to his principles, although he wrote 
privately in one of the still-unpublished letters to Unamuno dated 
November 2, 1923: "Lo del Icon y el leonero podemos transigirlo si 
usted quiere, reembarcdndolo, con su jaula, yam Africa" ("We can 
settle that business about the lion and lion keeper, if you like, by re- 
shipping it, together with the cage, to Africa") . Accompanied by 
Count Romanones, Unamuno had called ori Alfonso XIII at the palace 
in 1922, an act of seeming capitulation which angered not only Azana 
but the whole Ateneo. Unamuno undoubtedly knew that his visit 
to the palace would be criticized. At the last moment he tried to renege, 
though the day and hour had been set well in advance. Romanones 
finally found him and drove him to the palace, Unamuno was per- 
suaded to leave his Basque beret in the car, but dressed in his accus- 
tomed Mennonite-like garb he marched in for the audience one hour 

Advent of the Republic; 1927-1931 

late. Unamuno did most of the talking during that hour-and-a-half 
visit, which the King concluded when he had heard enough of 
Unamuno's ideas on politics and religion. Romanones witnessed the 
entire interview and affirmed that the leave-taking between king and 
scholar was cordial. 

Now Azafia maintains that one is either for or against a system or 
institution, not personally for or against a given king. This is a most 
tenable position, given the fact that, by one of the paradoxes not un- 
common in Spain, one of the members of the Ateneo with membership 
card number 7777, was no other than Alfonso de Borbon, his domicile 
listed as Palacio de Oriente and his profession stated officially as King 
of Spain. In his essay on Unamuno, Azana concludes that "the 
character of Unamuno is impregnated with quixotism. Perhaps the 
essence of quixotism is not the love of justice, but the eagerness to win 
eternal name and fame ... he was going to meet the lion/' On the 
other hand, in an essay on the Generation of '98, Azana praises 
Unamuno for having been the only one of the '98-ists to face the basic 
issue: "not that of being a Spaniard or not, nor that of how one is to 
be a Spaniard, but that of being or not being a man" It is possible, 
nevertheless, that Unamuno and Azana did not understand each other 
well even on this question, because Unamuno's Man is conceived 
largely in the existentialist image, with its resultant despair at the 
enormity of his responsibility to himself and to all other human beings, 
a luxury with which Azana's more objective concrete Man the citizen 
cannot afford to overwhelm himself, lest he fail to respect the state. 

We have already observed that Unamuno came into contact with 
Azana in the Ateneo. Back in 1917, together with three other writers 
and at the invitation of the Italian government, they had also made a 
trip to the Italian-Austrian front during the First World War, Then 
from 1920-24 Unamuno was a frequent contributor to the two maga- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

zines edited by Azafia, until the February 16, 1924, issue of Espana 
announced Unamuno's exile and the dictator s decree which closed the 
Ateneo. Unamuno was exiled from 1924-30 by Primo de Rivera on 
account of what was really a trivial incident: the trial of a certain young 
lady in whose behalf the dictator had attempted to intervene, by means 
of a letter of recommendation to a magistrate, who not only refused 
to comply with the "recommendation," but who in effect made the 
letter public by including it in the court records of the case. Unamuno 
discussed the incident satirically in a letter which he wrote to a friend 
in Buenos Aires. When through the friend's indiscretion the letter 
was published in an Argentine newspaper, Primo de Rivera vented his 
wrath by exiling Unamuno to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands in 
February of 1924, and by taking similar action against other intel- 
lectuals who defended Unamuno. Perhaps Primo de Rivera later 
regretted his hasty action, for it provided a natural cause celebre, but at 
any rate Unamuno was not very closely guarded and on July 9, 1924, 
French friends rescued him and landed him in Le Havre. Unamuno 
lived in France six years. At first he was in Paris, where he wrote 
articles for the French radical newspaper Quotidien, which had 
organized his rescue. After he tired of Paris, he went to live in 
Hendaye, within sight of the Spanish Pyrenees. There he spent the 
remainder of his exile. When die dictatorship had finally fallen and 
Unamuno returned to Spain on February 9, 1930, he received a hero's 
welcome and gave at the Ateneo a speech which inflamed the already 
heated general agitation for a republican state. 

On May 3, 1930, Azana spoke at the Lyceum on "Cervantes y la 
invencion del Quijote" which forms the lead essay in a collection to 
which Azana was to give the name La invencion del Quijote y otros 
ensayos and publish in 1934. In this essay Azana disagrees with 
Unamuno's frequently expressed concept of Don Quijote as an inde- 

Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

pendent character with greater dimensions than the spirit of his 
creator. Rejecting this Pirandellian point of view, 6 hut without berat- 
ing Unamuno, Azafia points out the autobiographical nature of the 
novel and the consequent fact that Don Quijote could not have existed 
without both the realistic and poetic substance with which Cervantes 
nurtured his creation. In his interpretation of the novel, Azana is 
unwilling to allow any detachment of Don Quijote from his surround- 
ings. What is more, since these surroundings are Spain, and can still 
be consulted in the types and landscapes of present-day Spain, they 
are of prime importance in understanding and appreciating the novel. 
The cross that Cervantes bore through self -identification with Don 
Quijote is what history, with time, has consolidated as the expression 
of Spain; and thus Don Quijote can still have a "route" because of 
the enormous wealth of national life from which he is inseparable. 

Perhaps Unamuno made no refutation because Azana's interpre- 
tation follows conventional lines of analysis of Don Quijote and there- 
fore was hardly a new challenge to Unamuno's originality. Actually, 
so far as can be determined, Unamuno's only mention of Azana in 
print was in the conservative Madrid daily Ahora, whose February 28, 
1934, issue carried an article by Unamuno entitled "Accion y contem- 
placion," dedicated to Don Manuel Azana. In passing, it may be of 
interest that the highly esteemed actress Margarita Xirgu, who had 
performed in Azana's La corona in 1932, played the title role of 
Unamuno's prose translation of Seneca's Medea at its premiere in 
June, 1933, at Merida, in the Roman amphitheater, midst other natural 
surroundings appropriate to classical tragedy. The published portions 
of Azana's memoirs indicate that he was in the audience that night 
along with many other government officials. But back in November 

6 For more information on this analogy, see my article "Unamuno and Pirandello Re- 
visited," Italic*, XXXIII, No. 1 (March, 1956), 40-51. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

of 1932 Unaraimo had attacked Azana verbally when, in a speech at 
the Ateneo, he ranted against what he termed Azana's dictatorial 
methods of government, which he said were worse than the processes 
of the Inquisition. That speech caused considerable uproar, although 
Azana's reaction to it in his memoirs was rnild. Two months later, 
however, in an entry in the memoirs dated January 18, 1933, Azana 
spoke of an informal gathering of "the other day" in which Unamuno 
"among other stupid words, said that we were in civil war . . . ." 
Unamuno's words accurately foretold the armed revolt of the Left of 
October, 1934, an event which even Madariaga admits to be no less 
inexcusable than the Generals' uprising of July, 1936, that precipitated 
the Spanish Civil War. 

Fourteen months after Unamuno returned from exile, the Republic 
was proclaimed. Unamuno was elected deputy to the constituent 
parliament and then appointed head of the Council of Public Edu- 
cation. To the floor of the Cortes he carried his passion for the 
heterodox and his public criticism of personalities. His speeches in the 
Cortes were vocal literary essays with the same sermon-like quality 
that characterized most of his written essays. At first the Cortes would 
listen to him politely and, since they were Spaniards, savor the 
occasions when that venerable scholar would convert their lawmaking 
body into an academy. But as the months went by, the superior air 
which Unamuno adopted on the floor of the Cortes began to rankle in 
some of the deputies. One day a deputy named Gassol challenged him 
with: "The tone of Mr. Unamuno, when he speaks of political matters, 
has a certain something which I confess irks me sorely." Actually 
Unamuno delighted in demonstrating his unfamiliarity with parlia- 
mentary procedure, and in a speech he even said once that legislation 
was certainly not his calling. The truth is that he never really showed 
an interest in any but the cultural aspects of the matters resolved in 

Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

the Cortes. For instance, one of the few times he had anything vital 
to say was on the language question: the debate on the official status 
of Basque or Catalonian, as opposed to Castilian, stirred Unamuno to 
make a long speech interspersed freely with quotations of poetry. Later, 
when the Catalonian Statute of autonomy was being debated, obviously 
its only aspect that stimulated Unamuno to vocalize his opinions was 
the one concerning the official position of the Catalonian language at 
the University of Barcelona. Back when the voting for the President 
of the Republic had taken place in the Cortes, Unamuno received one 
vote, which rumor attributes to have been his own, although this may 
have been an unfair assumption. He did win another presidency, how- 
ever, that of the Ateneo in 1933, an office which he held through 1934 
and in which he had succeeded Ramon del Valle Inclan, who as presi- 
dent of the Ateneo had in turn succeeded Azana in 1932. With regard 
to Unamuno's service to the state, by 1933 he had become wearied 
of what he would have termed the hollowness of politics in action, 
and he renounced the political adventure in order to return perma- 
nently to his beloved University of Salamanca, where in 1934 he was 
declared to be its rector for as long as he should live. This was to be 
but two years. 

The political antagonism between Unamuno and Azana manifested 
itself mainly during the years of the Republic; but, although it is 
undocumentable, it was widely echoed that Unamuno used to warn 
even in the 1920's that Azana was a writer without readers capable 
of starting a revolution in order to be read. (Azana's own version of his 
own predicament, uttered later to his brother-in-law, was: "I am a 
writer lost in politics/') Notwithstanding, at the very beginning of the 
Republic, before Azana became Head of the Provisional Government, 
Unamuno spoke of Azana in favorable terms; and even afterwards, 
Azana returned the compliment in his great speech of May 27, 1932, 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azaffa 

on the floor of the Cortes. With the passage of time, Unamuno 
assumed a totally opposite attitude concerning both Azana and the 
Republic itself. He began to write editorials for Ahora in which he 
ended by attacking even the Republican Constitution (as he had 
already attacked it in the Cortes) on June 5, 1936, the same Constitu- 
tion that he himself had helped to formulate. Unable to accept the 
Popular Front and its presumed exaltation of labor, Unamuno looked 
to fascism with hopeful eyes. Now Azana's open enemy, he declared 
himself in favor of the insurgents at the outbreak of the Civil War. 
When the Rebels took possession of Salamanca and set up a head- 
quarters there early in the war, Unamuno could see at first hand their 
methods and aims, whereupon he then reversed his position again with 
the famous "vencereis pero no convencereis" ("you will conquer but 
you will not convince') retort in ceremonies inaugurating the 1936 
school year at the University of Salamanca. Removed from the rector- 
ship of the university and confined to his house by order of the 
Nationalist officers, who were unwilling that a figure of his stature 
should defect, if he were so inclined and the chance presented itself, 
Unamuno died from a cerebral hemorrhage at home in the evening 
of the final day of 1936. In the last days, Unamuno's despair over 
the tragic national events was great. Yet perhaps Unamuno has re- 
ceived more than his due from posterity, and Azana, less. Now, 
twenty-some years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, most Repub- 
licans-in-exile count Unamuno as one of their own side, while at the 
same time the figure of Azana is tarnished in the minds of many 
because of his supposed unfavorable conduct at the end of the Civil 
War, and the maliciously propagandized circumstances of his death 
in 1940. 

We have seen how in the late 1920's Manuel Azana was finally 
achieving some recognition, both as a writer and as a leader of purpose- 

Advent of the Republic; 1927-1931 

ful men, even though it seemed to him at times that the Pyreneean-like 
barriers of monarchy and dictatorship would forever prevent the winds 
of freedom from blowing across Spain. In 1928, while Unamuno was 
still in France, Azana wrote to him on May 25 (one of the letters 
that Unamuno kept) the following statements: "No puedo veneer mi 
desconfianza en la revolution de las gentes .... Aqui se estaba incu- 
bando un huevo, que prometia ser de avestruz y me temo que sea de 
gorriona" ("I cannot conquer my distrust of the peoples' revolution 
.... Here an egg was being hatched, which bid fair to be that of an 
ostrich, and I am much afraid that it is only a syarrow's"*). But the 
year 1930 found Azana at the helm of two important organizations: 
the Republican Action party that he had helped found in 1927, and 
his spiritual hearth the Ateneo of Madrid, which had made him its 
president from 1930-32. Azana's candidacy was proposed and sup- 
ported behind the scenes by Valle Inclan and a politically inclined 
clique which overrode the objection of other members who thought 
Azana "lacked personality." These two offices made Azana doubly 
suspect to the police, who had more than ample reason to watch the 
Ateneo. That literary society had become a hotbed of republicanism 
the alliance of republican parties even held its meetings there as 
well as (said the rumors) a repository for small arms stored among its 
many books. Not for this, however, was Azana called the "little colo- 
nel," nor even because of his interest in French and Spanish military 
affairs, but rather because of his physical appearance, his apparent in- 
tractability, and his self-assured demeanor that suggested Napoleon to 
the caricaturist. For many years Azaria had treasured his membership in 
the Ateneo above all his other activities; now he was its president in 
a propitious hour. 

The surviving exiled Republicans and literati who were once mem- 
bers of the Ateneo would scarcely recognize their Ateneo Cientifico, 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Literario y Artistico today. In Azana s time the most important literary 
salon in Spain, it is now a submissive vehicle to the state's "directed 
culture/' this mission facilitated by expanded floor space. Enlargement 
by the acquisition of adjoining property, however, has not altered the 
exterior of the original building, unimpressively sandwiched in a row 
of buildings at Calle del Prado 21, where it has always been only 
two blocks away, around the corner, from the Spanish Parliament. 
The street name and number have somehow remained the same since 
the present Ateneo was constructed in 1883 and opened in January of 
1884, transferred there from outmoded quarters on Calle de la 
Montera, although the institution was founded originally on still 
another site in 1835, with the Duque de Rivas as its first president. 
The tread of generations of ateneistas has worn thin the steps of the 
marble staircase that still leads from the columned entrance up to the 
various salons, auditorium, and library; but not because of its physical 
antiquity is the Ateneo now only a shell whose interior life has 
dried up. 

The place is usually deserted but for the several guards with nothing 
to do, or the few researchers who cogitate at the old-fashioned desks in 
the library. The directorship of that library, once entrusted to writers 
like Ramon Perez de Ayala and Enrique Diez-Canedo, is now assumed 
by a priest. Today cheap contemporary furniture rests irreverently on 
the parquet floors of the salon de conversation, located off the main 
hallway wherein hang the portraits of renowned ateneistas of the past. 
Though Unamuno's portrait is there, notably lacking in the collection 
is a painting of Azana or of any other Republican writer, statesman, or 
past president of the Ateneo politically prominent enough to arouse 
dangerous thoughts among the members. Many years have gone by 
since the Civil War, and yet the ruling regime seems more unsure of 
itself than ever, its affiliate branches of national culture being highly 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

sensitive to any evocation of the days of "inorganic democracy," as die 
Republican era is deprecatingly termed. 

One significant part of the Ateneo has been allowed to age with all 
its original stateliness: the quaint nineteenth-century lecture hall. 
Except for the addition of a bust of Franco strategically centered on the 
stage, apparently nothing has been touched in that 532-seat auditorium 
since the last century. Every faded ornament preserves an imperishable 
dignity; every worn seat recalls a famous occupant; and the tiny stage 
evokes sentimental reminiscence of all the noble ideas exchanged 
there, of the distinguished writers and statesmen like Manuel Azafia 
who have declaimed from its rostrum, and of the keen listeners who 
have risen to debate from either the members' seats or from the public 
gallery. More than twenty thousand men and women have belonged 
to the Ateneo since its founding in 1835 with 329 affiliates. Toward 
the end of the nineteenth century, the Ateneo of Madrid was one of 
the first intellectual societies to admit women: Emilia Pardo Bazan 
and Blanca de los Rios were once members. In later times other 
women intellectuals, with or without membership, participated in 
the tertulias in the halls of the Ateneo. Women are still welcome, 
but with less exclusive qualifications. Of the old timers, men and 
women, nowadays only a few phantoms from the past remain on the 
active rolls of the Ateneo or, for a nostalgic moment, occasionally stroll 
into the once-great house that spawned the Republic in 193L Only 
they can remember Manuel Azafia and the pre-1936 importance of 
the Ateneo in the cultural and political life of Spain. 

On August 16, 1930, the leaders of the various antimonarchist 
political parties met privately at the Union ReyuHicana headquarters 
in the popular summer-resort city of San Sebastian. The Catalonians 
were represented, but not the Basque nationalists, even though the 
meeting took place in a Basque city. No Communist representation 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

was invited, and none attended. The next day these delegates signed 
a pact of co-operative coalition toward the ultimate overthrow of the 
King. Thus, overnight, in San Sebastian the Junta Revoludonaria 
was formed and then converted into the Provisional Government of 
the future Republic, whose principal ministries were projected as 
follows: Niceto Alcala Zamora, President of the Republic; Manuel 
Azana, Minister of War; Marcelino Domingo, Minister of Agriculture; 
Alvaro de Albornoz, Minister of Justice; Miguel Maura, Minister of 
the Interior; Fernando de los Rios, Minister of Education; Francisco 
Largo Caballero, Minister of Labor; Alejandro Lerroux, Minister of 
State; and Indalecio Prieto, Minister of Public Works. Changes and 
additions to this government were made later, although the cabinet 
remained largely the same. 7 Another meeting, separate from the first, 
took place at the end of August across the French border in Hendaye. 
This one was attended by Count Romanones, long an influential 
figure in Spanish national politics. The main result of the latter 
session was a verbal agreement that municipal and provincial elections 
should precede the election of a national parliament. Romanones 
continued to support a constitutional monarchy. 

By autumn, revolutionary committees were springing up every- 
where. After its initial conference in San Sebastian, the Central 
Revolutionary Committee held a series of meetings in Madrid. They 
decided that December 15, 1930, would be the day of general revolt 
on which the Republic would be proclaimed. These plans were 
thwarted, however, by some gun-jumpers in Jaca three days ahead of 
time, at dawn on December 12. By December 20, government troops 

7 When the Republic was declared on April 14, 1931, the Provisional Government was 
a$ follows: Alcala, Zamora, idem; Azana, idem; Domingo, Minister of Education; Albomoz, 
Minister of Development (Fomento); Maura, idem; los Rios, Minister of Justice; Largo 
Caballero, idem; Lerroux, idem; Prieto, Minister of Finance (Hacienda); Santiago Casares 
Quiroga, Minister of the Navy; Nicolau d'Olwer, Minister of Economy (Economia); and 
Diego Martinez Barrio, Minister of Communications. 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

Lad quashed the abortive revolt and its accompanying sympathy strikes, 
whose only salutary effect was one of propaganda for the Republican 
cause. On the other hand, as a result of the premature revolt, the plans 
of the Central Revolutionary Committee became known, and the 
revolutionary manifesto was captured before it could be implemented. 
Among the signers of this manifesto were all the members of the 
Provisional Government itself, plus Santiago Casares Quiroga, Luis 
Nicolau d'Olwer, and others who played prominent roles in the 
Republic in the years to come. At the moment, however, all of them 
who could be found were jailed. Among those arrested were Alcala 
Zamora, los Rios, Maura, Largo Caballero, Eduardo Ortega y Gasset, 
Casares Quiroga, and Albornoz. Albornoz was defended by Victoria 
Kent; Alcala Zamora and Maura were defended by Angel Ossorio, who 
in 1934 was to defend Manuel Azafia when he was unjustly accused of 
complicity in the Barcelona rebellion. Marcelino Domingo and In- 
dalecio Prieto fled to Paris, while the police sought Azafia in Madrid 
that very night of December 12. Probably the fact that Azafia was 
still small game politically, by contrast with some of the politicos who 
were arrested, saved him from more concentrated effort for his appre- 

On that night of December 12 Azana had tickets for the Teatro 
Calderon, where a Russian opera company was performing. He 
risked attendance despite the early-morning events at Jaca and the 
redoubling of security measures occasioned by the Queen's presence 
in the theater. Azaiia and Dona Dolores were watching the perform- 
ance when Don Cipriano arrived late and alone, having first taken his 
wife home from the reception to which he and she had been invited 
at the home of the First Secretary of the U.S. embassy. The occur- 
rences of that evening are substantially the ones reported in the book 
Horas del cautiverio (Madrid, n. d.), by Eduardo Ml del Portillo and 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Carlos Primelles, except that Sra. de Azana remained in her seat the 
whole time and Azana did not escape first to the house of Sindulfo 
de la Fuente or hide in only four locations. The account in the book 
goes as follows: When Azana suspected that he was being watched, 
he pretended not to notice, and during the second intermission he and 
Sra. de Azana and Don Cipriano all went out to the lobby where he 
smoked a cigarette. Instead of remaining in the lobby, Azana feigned 
a distracted air and went off to the stage door, apparently with the 
purpose of greeting some performer. From there, he slipped out into 
the night while Dona Dolores and her brother returned to their seats. 
Having made his escape, Azana went first to the house of an intimate 
friend, Sindulfo de la Fuente, the first of four places where he elected 
to hide. 

The rest of the story as reported by Portillo and Primelles is untrue. 
Unfortunately even so sensible a book as Henry Buckley's Life and 
Death of the Spanish Republic (London, 1940), among others, carries 
a similar version. The inaccurate reporting does, however, demonstrate 
the effectiveness of Azana's friends' plan to leak false leads to the 
police in order better to protect him. The false account says that 
Azana decided to leave Madrid, and undisguised (some versions say 
he traveled in disguise) he went to the North railroad station where he 
bought several newspapers and a ticket to Burgos. The train left 
without incident although he was still sought by the police. In Burgos 
he was met by an auto, which whisked him off to San Sebastian. The 
following night he crossed into France on foot, unnoticed, beyond the 
border guards' shack and near the town of Viriato. Once in France, 
Azana took a train to Pau, where he installed himself until the 
Berenguer cabinet crisis. Since he then expected political events, he 
decided to return to Madrid. Accordingly he went back to the border 
and openly purchased a train ticket to Madrid. Once again in Madrid, 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

he even went out hunting not far from the city and frequently attended 
clandestine meetings at night in Madrid. 

Apparently all of this is pure fantasy to the last detail. Here is what 
really happened, as related to me by Sra. de Azafia and Cipriano Rivas 
Cherif: Azana spent the first night at the house of a friend, the 
Mexican writer, Martin Luis Guzman, on Calle de Velazquez. 
Though offered asylum by the Mexican embassy the next day, the 
fugitive declined and went to the house of another friend (name 
forgotten) just before the police searched Guzman's residence. Azafia s 
third refuge was a small hotel or residential owned by the sister of still 
another unnamed friend. There Azana spent Christinas Eve by posing 
as a professor from Valladolid on Christmas vacation; his assumed 
name, Mariano Alcaniz, matched the initials on his suitcase, although 
the success of this unoriginal ruse bespeaks the relative disinterest of 
both the police and the lodgers of the hotel. Next Azana went to the 
house of his father-in-law on Calle de Columela, There Dona Dolores 
could visit her husband without arousing suspicions, and the servants 
were trustworthy. Azana lived in the bedroom of his recently deceased 
mother-in-law (the mother died while Cipriano Rivas Cherif was in 
Argentina), a room sealed off by the father for ostensibly sentimental 
reasons readily accepted as plausible by friends and relatives. After 
Azana had spent three months in that room, one day he revealed 
himself to Amos Salvador, who had come to the house on an urgent 
political errand. Immediately after this visit Azana thought it best 
to change quarters again. He went then to the house of Sindulfo 
de la Fuente and stayed there until it seemed safe to return to the 
Rivas Cherif home, where this time he remained only briefly. The 
tedium of confinement had begun to annoy him and to persuade him 
that he might take the chance of hiding in his own home with its 
familiar books and other comforts, especially since he conjectured that 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

no one would expect to find him in his own apartment. So there he 
went and there he stayed until the proclamation of the Republic on 
April 14, 1931. And what had he done during all the solitary hours 
between December and April? He had worked on the novel Fresdeval, 
which was still unfinished when he died in 1940, but which will be 
included as a posthumous work among his complete works when they 
are published. Rivas Cherif tells how on that beautiful spring day he 
and Martin Luis Guzman went to tell Azafia that the Republican flag 
had been raised over the Post Office building in Madrid, and that 
Azana's jovial reaction had been: "Another month and I would have 
finished the novel!" Azafia had already gone out openly earlier that 
day, however, to see Miguel Maura (member of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment) at his hotel, for Azafia had guessed that the time had finally 
come to banish precaution. 

Political events had moved swiftly while Azafia was in hiding, 
December 12, 1930 to April 14, 1931. When Primo de Riveras suc- 
cessor, General Damaso Berenguer, announced that elections to the 
Cortes would be held under the old (1876) Constitution, he was met 
with a wave of protest and resigned on February 14, 1931. The Bang 
attempted to come to terms with the revolutionists; he even invited 
their participation in his new government under Count Romanones. 
When the invitation was declined, because the Revolutionary Com- 
mittee would accept nothing less than a constituent parliament, the 
King placed Admiral Aznar at the head of a government dedicated to 
holding three elections. First would come the municipal elections, 
next those for provincial office, and finally a national vote for repre- 
sentatives to the Cortes. In March of 1931 the arrested members of 
the Revolutionary Committee were tried and freed. The municipal 
elections were held on April 12. Results were close. The anti- 
monarchist parties probably elected slightly fewer councilors than their 

Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

monarchist opponents, but of greater significance was the fact that 
practically every large city had voted antimonarchist. The city dweller 
was freer to vote for a change than his country cousin, because the 
monarchist big landowners could threaten the economic life of many 
a village and thus control its vote. Two days later, the newly elected 
municipal councils of numerous large cities (including Barcelona, 
Valencia, and Seville) declared a Republic. Since their action went 
unopposed by the Director of the Civil Guard, none other than the 
same General Jose Sanjurjo who later was to lead a revolt against the 
Republic, the King and his family were persuaded to recognize a fait 
accompli and leave the country. In a nation noted for its political 
violence, the most radical change of the century had come about with- 
out bloodshed, and even before the holding of the provincial and 
national parliamentary elections. What remained to be seen, however, 
was whether this transformation owed more to widespread republican 
conviction than simply to the weakness of the old regime. 

Here are the details of the changeover in Madrid. On the evening 
of April 13, soapbox orators harangued crowds in the main streets of 
Madrid without incident. The King must go, they said. Indeed the 
King was up late that night receiving reports and watching to see what 
developed. The next morning, Tuesday, April 14, the streets of 
Madrid were calm again, but toward mid-afternoon it was announced 
on the radio that the Republic had been proclaimed in Barcelona. 
Shortly thereafter, the Republican tricolor was raised on several build- 
ings in Madrid, including the Palacio de Comunicaciones at about 
4:00 P.M., as the Guardia Civil looked on but did not intervene. 
Shouts of Viva la Reputtica could be heard in the streets while streams 
of enthusiasts began to flow into the Puerta del Sol So far, it was only 
an effervescence; no hostile acts had occurred. 

Later that afternoon of the 14th, the King met with certain min- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

isters of his cabinet, including his Minister of State, Count Romanones. 
Toward midday the King had sent Romanones to ascertain the terms 
of the Revolutionary Committee by means of an interview with Niceto 
Alcala Zamora. The latter, as head of the Committee, was soon to 
become the Provisional President of the Republic. The third man 
present at that meeting was Dr. Gregorio Maranon, at whose home 
they met, as a face-saving gesture (neutral territory) for Romanones. 
Meanwhile most of the Committee waited at the residence of Miguel 
Maura, to which Azana had gone. Speaking for the Committee, Alcala 
Zamora, ex-Minister-of-the-King-turned-republican, gave the King and 
his ministers until sunset that day to hand over the government to the 
Republican Committee. In return for this peaceful transfer of -aur 
thority, the Committee would guarantee the King's safe departure from 
Spain. Later, on June 3, 4, and 5, 1931, the daily El sol published 
Romanones* own accounts of the last hours of the monarchy, data 
which also appeared in a privately circulated book written by Roma- 
nones. Though their interpretation differs, the facts are essentially 
equivalent to those recorded by Berenguer in his book (De la dictadura 
a la Repullica, Madrid, 1946), which then piqued Romanones to 
respond with another book of his own entitled . . . Y sucedio asi 
(Madrid, 1947), whose first edition sold out in a hurry. According to 
Berenguer, it was Romanones who had convinced the King on April 
14 that all was lost, and that the King had better plan to leave immedi- 
ately in order to prevent large-scale public disorder and bloodshed. 
According to Romanones, only at the King's behest did he perform the 
onerous function of King's messenger to Alcala Zamora, who had once 
been Romanones 1 own secretary. Romanones claims that the King 
himself made the decision early that morning of the 14th to leave the 
country. However the King reached his conclusion, his departure 
probably prevented civil war, for the new government had already 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

installed itself before the King released his brief farewell message to 
the nation. Manuel Azafia and the other ministers had gone to the 
Ministerio de la Gobernacion (on the Puerta del Sol, and now the 
Direction General de Seguridad), where he and the rest of the Provi- 
sional Government made an appearance on the balcony from which 
Alcala Zamora then gave the speech that proclaimed the Republic, 

Accompanied by the deposed Minister of the Navy and several 
aides, King Alfonso XIII also took Prince Alfonso with him and left 
Madrid by 9:00 P.M. that evening in a convoy of three autos. Their 
destination was Cartagena. By dawn they had sailed from Spain in a 
cruiser named, ironically, "Principe Alfonso," which took them to Mar- 
seilles without incident. From Marseilles the King went to Paris and, 
less than a month later, to London. Abandoned by the aristocrats and 
protected by ad hoc people's militia, the Queen and her other children 
followed the King to France by land, after the government had organ- 
ized a safe departure for them. Ultimately the King's peregrinations 
led him to Italy, where he died February 28, 1941, in Rome, after 
having formally abdicated the throne on February 13, 1941, in favor 
of his third son, Don Juan. A marble coffin now awaits Alfonso XIII 
in the Escorial, where some day he may be buried with the other kings 
of Spain. 

By evening on April 14, the popular enthusiasm in the Puerta del 
Sol had risen to a deafening roar. No traffic could move. Bunches of 
Spaniards were hanging like grapes from lampposts, from stranded 
trolleys, from any vehicle or object which offered prominence. It was 
astonishing where all the Republican flags had come fromalmost as 
astonishing as where the Republic itself had come from. 

Ever since the Pact of San Sebastian, Manuel Azaiia was to be pro- 
visional Minister of War. The apocryphal story is told that he marched 
into the offices of the War Ministry that night of April 14 and an- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

noimced to its occupants that they had a choice of two courses of 
action, either to make way for him or to throw him off the balcony, 
but that in the latter case the consequences might be most grave. 
Actually Azana did go to the Ministerio de la Guerra toward midnight 
in the company of Comandante (later General) Juan Hernandez 
Sarabia, who was to become Azana's chief administrative aide in the 
years to come, but the transfer of authority was effected pacifically. 
Thus the president of Madrid's principal literary society took charge of 
the Spanish army, a fact which caused not inconsiderable smiles among 
the tertulias of cafe life about town. The mirth subsided, however, 
when the conversationists saw the efficient War Minister in action; and 
soon great things came to be expected of this scholar who brought not 
only honor, integrity, and efficiency to the office, but also a sound 
knowledge of comparative military policy and of importance to his 
underlings the practical perspective derived from his own previous 
employment in the civil service. 

Was his character altered when the reserved and introspective Azana 
suddenly became a high functionary? Not in the slightest. Though 
he could have established himself at the Palacio de Buenavista, tradi- 
tional residence of War Ministers, and finally did so later when he 
became also Prime Minister, for the present he and his wife continued 
their simple life in die top-floor flat with its glass balcony at Calle de 
Hermosilla 24 duylicado (now number 36), only instead of trudging 
home alone laden with papers and books as he had done for so many 
years, the recent fugitive now arrived with an escort, which caused a 
sensation among the unsuspecting neighbors. In all, both before and 
after his marriage, Manuel Azana maintained that apartment for 
eighteen years, until he moved to Calle de Serrano 38 at the end 
of 1933. Though he never forgot to pay the rent on time (250 pesetas 
a month in 1931) nor to greet the concierge and the other tenants 


Advent of the Republic, 1927-1931 

courteously, he never indulged in small talk with any of them. He had 
always lived to himself and received few visitors: occasionally a friend 
or literary acquaintance, or on a Sunday his various nieces and nephews 
whom he loved very much and who, with the disarming candor of 
most children, had known the secret of demolishing the aloofness of 
their learned uncle. Now, however, the phone was ringing all the 
time, a mountain of mail arrived each day, and a line of people was 
always waiting to see him. Though he had lost his privacy the new 
War Minister remained his accustomed tranquil, almost indifferent, 

Manuel Azana had arrived with the Republic. It should have been 
advantageous to come on the scene suddenly as he did. He had few, 
if any, established enmities or enemies. He had no party promises to 
fulfill, nor anybody to please. The nation seemed to ask of Azana and 
the Republic only: "Show me the way." But a painfully sinuous road 
lay ahead. The sober task of building a democracy is not the same 
thing as the signing of a pact on a sunny day in San Sebastian. Mak- 
ing a revolution is not the same thing as knowing what to do with it 
once it is made. 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana 

THE MOMENTUM of popular enthusiasm carried through April, 
June, 1931 days of organization, consolidation, stabilization, and pc 
litical campaigning. On June 28, Republican Spain elected a Con 
stituent Cortes, whose sessions commenced on July 14 in Madrid. 

This new Parliament was a rare assemblage of types and talents, th 
deputies notably lacking in the titles of nobility that had characterize* 
many previous parliaments under the monarchy. The Socialists, wit] 
116 deputies, were the largest single political party represented 
Minority groups were numerous, among them Azana's Republicai 
Action party with 30 deputies. The venerable Socialist Julian Besteiri 
was elected president of the Cortes, which counted among its illustriou 
but politically inexperienced members (one for each 50,000 of popula 
tion) not less than 50 university professors, 41 physicians, 123 lawyers 
30 editors, 16 engineers, 8 priests, and a handful of well-known creativ 
writers like Unamuno (representing Salamanca), Perez de AyaL 
(Oviedo), Ortega y Gasset (Leon), and Madariaga (La Coruna Vail 
Inclan had also stood for election in La Corufia but was defeated), a 
well as the son, Sigfrido, of Blasco Ibafiez. Had he not died in 1928 
probably Blasco Ibafiez himself would have figured prominently ii 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

the Republican government, The July 21, 1931, edition of El sol 
lists also, among others, 18 businessmen, 4 notaries, 6 pharmacists, 6 
public officials, 2 veterinarians, 6 printers, 1 jeweler, 1 chauffeur, 1 
tailor, 1 baker, 3 miners, and 27 laborers. Imagine such a Congress 
in Washington: 50 college professors on the one hand and 27 laborers 
on the other. These were the men there were also two women, both 
lawyers, Clara Campoamor and Victoria Kent, the latter now an exile 
and editor of the magazine Iberica in New York who were bent upon 
extirpating what they considered to be the traditional institutions of 
oppression in Spain: the aristocracy or big landowners, the military, 
and the church. In their zeal to break cleanly with the past, the leaders 
of the Republican Constituent Assembly and the majority of its depu- 
ties fomented a spirit of drastic reform which produced on December 
9, 1931, after almost five months of bitter debate and considerable 
opposition, a decidedly Leftish Constitution, one perhaps excessively 
liberal, progressive, and democratic for a nation unused to shouldering 
the collective social responsibilities essential to the perpetuation of such 
a Constitution. Manuel Azana, who had been elected deputy from 
the provincial capital of Valencia, was among the avant-garde of those 
who insisted upon the most sweeping reforms. 

Parts of this Constitution have been compared to both the Mexican 
one of 1917 (Queretaro) and that of the German Weimar Republic 
of 1919, but the truth is that the deputies examined and discussed 
nearly all modern constitutions, and thus maybe unknowingly utilized 
parts of many constitutions. One of the democratizing features of the 
Spanish Republic's Constitution was its stipulation of a unicameral 
parliament. The provision for a senate (to have been elected by repre- 
sentative boards from agriculture, industry, universities, and other pro- 
fessional groups) was eliminated after the first draft as unacceptable 
to, among others, the Socialists. Surely it was an impractical Consti- 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana 

tution in its failure to reconcile and cement differences of opinion, to 
wit, Articles 3 and 26 which not only separated church and state, but 
in effect alienated them irrevocably. In many ways it was an idealistic 
Constitution, as evidenced by Article 6, authored by Salvador de 
Madariaga, which says that "Spain renounces war as an instrument of 
national policy/' While Article 6 thus renounces war, Articles 113 
and 114 contain budget provisions in case of war; and Article 76 dele- 
gates the Presidential duty of declaring war a defensive war, natu- 
rally, although this, unstated, is one of the many contradictions in 
the 1931 Constitution. 

The first sentence of the first Article may seem particularly visionary: 
"Spain is a democratic Republic of workers (trabajadores) of every class 
(de toda close)" etc. A concession to the Socialists, this definition 
(whose first draft had read simply "Spain is a democratic Republic") 
would appear to intend the democratization of the Republic, a happy 
land where everyone does his part for the common good, for as Article 
46 says: "Work, in its diverse forms, is a social obligation . . . . 
The wording of that introductory definition was ill chosen, even if the 
idle stockholder or land proprietor in the capitalist Republic became in 
this way a worker, because worker and class were in the 1930's, even 
as they are today, loaded words associated with Marxist doctrine. The 
enemies of the Republic always said that Article 1 was communistic, 
though the Republic did not come in on Communist wings. Surely the 
inference was entirely a wrong one, but the Republic exposed its aims 
to misinterpretation in the very first Article of its Constitution; and this 
Article gained wide publicity. 

What is not generally understood, however, is that the "Republic of 
workers" was not so much an aspiration to an unrealizable Utopia as 
it was a wish to encourage a productive society wherein a man is urged 
to earn his keep, esteem his citizenship, bear his just obligations to the 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

state, and thus contribute his share toward the functioning of that 
Republic. If this was the ambition of the Constituent Cortes, then its 
"anticlerical" legislation should not be so termed; and what may at 
first sight seem to be aimed at extirpating the church was only a move- 
ment to make the church bear the temporal as well as spiritual burden, 
to require the church to pay its own way like any other private institu- 
tion within the Republic. One day a deputy named Eduardo Barrio- 
bero (executed by the Civil War victors in 1936) rose to his feet to 
propose an amendment to the Article dealing with citizenship; he pro- 
posed that monks should lose their citizenship; his amendment was 
defeated by only a scant margin of votes. Revengeful anticlericalism? 
No, but so interpreted in the press, domestic and foreign. The reason- 
ing behind the amendment was simply analogous to what Azana had 
indicated in the Garden of the Monks: that the monk, selfish in his 
own pursuits, is a kind of anti-citizen who contributes nothing to the 
state. Quite apart from whatever sect directs and sustains the monk's 
passivity in national life, the fact that he is not a "worker" condemns 
him, and not the fact that he is Catholic. 

The third item of Article 1 also merits attention: "The Republic 
constitutes an integral State (Estado integral), compatible with the 
autonomy of the Municipalities and the Regions." Again in Article 8, 
mention is made of an "integrated" (integrado) state. Obviously it was 
desired to avoid saying either "unitary state" or "federal state," since 
the first would have alienated the Catalonians and perhaps the Basques, 
both of whom were counting on eventual autonomy for their respective 
regions, and the second would have indicated only a hypothetical con- 
dition which did not yet exist. The Constitution created, therefore, a 
potentially federal Republic, as evidenced by Articles 1 1 and 12, which 
define the conditions under which any region may, for historical, cul- 
tural, and economic reasons, present its statute for a type of autonomy 

The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

roughly equivalent to that of a state in the USA Article 13 was sup- 
posed to be the safeguard that prohibited federation of autonomous 
regions, but the very fact of provision for regional autonomy would 
seem to have made the Republic a federal state (even though Article 
19 might tend to deny this), with all the dangers thereto appertaining. 
The Catalonian tendency to separatism had long been a thorny issue 
in Spain, and the provision for regional statutes of autonomy was one 
of the agreements in the Pact of San Sebastian. After the Constitution 
became effective, the Catalonians duly presented their statute for 
approval. Despite powerful opposition from the large bloc of the Cortes 
who feared separatism, Catalonia finally won its autonomy mainly 
through the efforts of its principal proponent Manuel Azana. 

If the fundamental cause of the U.S. Civil War was the question of 
state versus national authority, if states' rights can still be a burning 
issue in the democratized U.S.A., a federal type of government is even 
harder to manage in Spain, where an inherent deficiency in co-opera- 
tive values easily develops into explosive extremism. Witness the 
previous attempt to decentralize the government in Spain: the federal 
Constitution of 1873. Just as in 1931, the Catalonians began to act 
unilaterally even before the Constitution became effective. The Con- 
stitution of 1873 divided Spain into fifteen states, each with its own 
military force and financial autonomy in the matter of raising and 
spending funds. Certain cities in southern Spain began to force loans 
from their wealthiest citizens and even to issue their own currency. 
As nearly always, whenever Spain takes a liberal turn, violence was 
directed against the church and the army. As moderate freedom had 
to become immoderate, and that immoderate freedom was converted 
into anarchy, the national government soon found itself to be without 
authority or credit, and almost bankrupt. Then came the usual string 
of prime ministers with brief office: Pi y Margall, Salmeron, Castelar. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

For order to be restored, Valencia Lad to be bombarded; Cartagena not 
only resisted the government troops, but joined Murcia in an attack on 
Alicante and Murcia declared war on Germany! The army took com- 
mand and disbanded the Parliament. A small-scale civil war ensued. 
The general outlines of the breakdown of central authority of that 
First Republic were to be re-enacted in the rise and fall of the Second 
Republic of 1931-36, only this time the drama was played on a larger 
stage and at a time when the spectator nations saw fit not to watch the 
performance, but to participate in the act, each to its own ends. Basi- 
cally it was by the lack of conservatism or caution in handling certain 
historical Spanish problems that the Spanish Constitutions of both 
1873 and 1931 seemed to invite their respective conflicts. 

Many Spaniards criticized the Constitution of 1931; and the first 
President of the Republic, Niceto Alcala Zamora, was one of them, 
though he did not publish his book (Los defectos de la Constitution de 
1931, Madrid, 1936) until after the Cortes had deposed him from the 
Presidency. Although the Constituent Assembly of 1931 may have 
attempted to affirm much that it could not in reality deliver, it did 
develop on paper a very "modern" Constitution (albeit a prolix one), 
notable for its social guarantees and for its delineation of Spain's full 
international obligations as an aspirant partner in the world community 
of nations. To this end, Spain was committed to subscribe to, and 
participate in, the League of Nations; and Article 7 of the Constitution, 
an Article approved almost without discussion, pledged respect for 
international law. In the matter of civil guarantees, the Constitution 
was largely a socialized document assuring fair treatment to the "work- 
ers of every class/' The second paragraph of Article 46 says that "the 
Republic will assure every worker the conditions necessary for a worthy 
(digna) existence"; the next paragraph speaks of laws to regulate con- 
ditions of employment, like minimum pay, work hours, sickness, insur- 

The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

ance, and so forth. Social benefits, group guarantees, and civil liberties 
of all kinds were well covered, including newly won civil rights for 
women. Women could now not only vote, at the established voting 
age of twenty-three for both sexes, but they gained other previously 
nonexistent civil rights as well, including the right to divorce, with due 
cause. Although the debate was not nearly so violent as the wrangling 
on the famous Article 26, which dissolved certain religious orders, the 
question of women's suffrage (Article 36) produced one day on the 
floor of the Cortes a memorable exchange of views between Clara 
Campoamor and Victoria Kent, who held opposing opinions expressed 
in consecutive speeches, Renouncing an ideal, Miss Kent proposed 
that the female right to vote be postponed, and with good reasons. The 
essence of these reasons, in which Azana concurred, was that Spanish 
women were not yet sufficiently won to the Republic, "Today/' she 
concluded, "it is dangerous to concede the vote to women/' Then Miss 
Campoamor spoke. The male Cortes enjoyed the contest. Women's 
vote won, 161-121, whereupon a deputy shouted: "/Viva la Republica 
de las mujeres!" The comic aspect aside, it became evident too late 
that Victoria Kent was right. 

Among other items of note in this historic Constitution, the state 
attempted to sustain and promote public education, declared its non- 
recognition of titles of nobility, and stipulated (Article 58) that the 
Cortes was to meet for at least three months every February 1 and for 
at least two months each October L The President of the Republic 
was to be elected by the Cortes for a term of six years. In sum, the 
1931 Constitution manifested the intent that Spain should be brought 
quickly into the twentieth century. In return for its many individual 
guarantees, the Constitution demanded above all that Spaniards be 
good citizens and here one sees the guiding hand of Manuel Azana. 
In many lands this Constitution might have been viewed as a mild 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

one, but in Spain it meant a sharp rupture with the past, As Azaiia 
later observed, the most basic elements of progressive democratic gov- 
ernment, taken for granted elsewhere, have to be defended as radical 
theory in Spain, 

In order finally to achieve its single fundamental document of na- 
tional organization, the Constituent Cortes worked as hard as any 
legislative body had ever done in Spain. They were a dedicated body 
who met at all hours of the day and night to debate scrupulously the 
tiniest of details in the Articles of the Constitution. Even after the 
Constitution had been voted, any event of public disorder was debated 
immediately in the Cortes and resolved posthaste. (Once there was a 
luncheon given for the Minister of War and Prime Minister, Manuel 
Azafia, at the Carabanchel military encampment in the suburbs of 
Madrid. In postprandial speeches, Generals Caballero, Villegas, and 
then Coded spoke in a vein interpreted by Lt. Col. Mangada as 
inimical to the Republic. Mangada, whom Azana in his memoirs 
qualifies as "crazy, completely mad," lost his temper, tore off his jacket 
and stamped on it. By 3:30 P.M., definitive action had been taken: 
Coded was no longer Chief of Staff, the other generals likewise were 
relieved of command, and Mangada was in the military prison. At 
4:30 Azafia was reporting the incident to the Cortes. After his brief 
speech, the matter was closed. During the Monarchy, "street events'" 
regularly closed the Cortes; during the Republic, such happenings 
tended to keep the Cortes in session extra hours until the occurrence 
was fully aired in public, as further evidenced by the case of General 
Sanjurjo's rebellion in 1932.) What a potpourri of amusing anecdotes, 
literary quotations (frequently in the original language, whatever that 
might be), historical references, and impetuous verbal volleys took 
place in that assemblage! How often the deputies shouted "Vim la 
ReyuHica"! On the whole, their comportment was as good as that of 

The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

any Cortes under the Monarchy, tut they would not have been 
Spaniards if the academic and philosophic tone of their debate did not 
often make an athenaeum of their Parliament. Those were the days of 
optimism, ephemeral as it was. 

Even at the start of the Republic, however, both the Left and the 
Right wings seemed to outnumber the Center, in the Cortes and among 
the population at large, From the very moment that the Constitution 
was ratified, on December 9, 1931, reactionaries began a violent cam- 
paign against its reforms and against men like Manuel Azana, who, as 
he assumed the office of Prime Minister, found it his duty to protect 
the Constitution. Here, in the early months of 1932, was the real 
beginning of the alignments for the Spanish Civil War of 1936. At- 
tacked by the Right, moderates like Azana were forced gradually to 
support and be supported by elements farther Left than their tastes 
inclined them. Thinking to protect its own interests, neutral or uncom- 
mitted capital was thus persuaded to turn to the Right. By 1933 the 
already multifarious political parties were splitting into even smaller 
units. The result was excessive ministerial change and the return of 
improvisation to government. By 1936 the displacement had become 
nearly complete, with scarcely any power remaining in the Center to 
reconcile the Right with the Revolutionists. In essence, the only real 
forces in Spain were social ones: feudal-type domination on the one 
hand and working-class supremacy on the other, both of them masquer- 
ading under the names of political parties. This phenomenon was 
particularly apparent among the Left groups, where the trade union 
was in itself a political party, or identified itself with one. Azana s early 
method of containing these extremes was to adopt a strong attitude of 
bluff, which much of the foreign press mistakenly interpreted as dicta- 
torial. Azana was a patriot by nature, but the times demanded that he 
be a militant patriot. One of his first threats was that Spaniards must 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

either respect the Republic or fear it. When the Right finally became 
convinced that there was nothing to fear, Azana was finished, and with 
him the Republic. 

In retrospect, it is possible to delineate the four major stages of the 
Republic between its inception in 1931 and its exhaustion in 1939. 
The first Constitutional government, from December of 1931 to 
September of 1933, was that of Azana and the reformers. This was 
also the best government of the Republic, the biennium of the intel- 
lectual revolutionaries, like Azana, whose personal leadership, the 
result of persistent conviction and convincing oratory, rammed through 
the Cortes the progressive legislation that the reactionary successors of 
the Right were to nullify when they controlled the government during 
its second stage, from December of 1933 to February of 1936. That 
second stage has come to be called the Bienio Negro or Black Bien- 
nium. Each of these governments had to deal with considerable opposi- 
tion and civilian disorder; in fact, each had to quash an organized local 
uprising. The brief third stage of the Republic came in February of 
1936, with the victory of the Popular Front and Azana's return to a 
position of leadership. This period lasted only until July of 1936, when 
the generals revolted. The initial failure of their coup forced a total 
chaos of civil war upon the nation until the Republic was finally ex- 
hausted in the spring of 1939. That rebellion, met by revolution, was 
the fourth and final stage of the Second Spanish Republic. In none of 
these stages could the various Republican groups achieve sufficient 
cohesion among themselves not even in war. 

With regard to Azana himself, his innate and sometimes naive 
straightforwardness made him intolerant of the more devious and subtle 
procedures of other deputies with less probity than he; in short, his 
chief political drawback was his inability to reach a modus vivendi 
with crafty professional politicians like Alcala Zamora (whom the 


The Republic, 1931-1934 Rise and Fall of Azana. 

Cortes elected President of the Republic, even though he had resigned 
the Provisional Presidency), Lerroux, and Largo Caballero, all of 
whom he disliked personally. Except in Azana's speeches, which were 
to him a kind of aesthetic experience, he simply could not be diplo- 
matic: he was a bulldozer. The best way to follow his headlong course 
through the peacetime years of the Republic is to study his speeches, 
most of which he himself gathered in three collections, published by 
Espasa-Calpe, with these titles: 

1. Una politka (1930-32), Bilbao, Madrid, and Barcelona, 1932. 
This includes forty-five speeches, most of them in the Cortes, from 
February, 1930, to September, 1932. 

2. En el poder y en la oyosidon (1932-34), in two volumes, Bilbao, 
Madrid, and Barcelona, 1934. 

3. Discursos en campo abierto, Bilbao, Madrid, and Barcelona, 
1936. This contains speeches of 1935. 

Collectively these volumes of oratory not only reveal Azana at his 
apogee of power, but they tell the story of the vital years of the Republic 
as well. It is not an exaggeration to say that Azana was the Republic. 

As a parliamentarian Azana had no equal. He was not the only 
great orator in the Cortes, but his style was quite the opposite from the 
florid one of Alcala Zamora. Azana dazzled his opponents with hard- 
hitting words of dry reason. The irrefutable logic, the rich and precise 
vocabulary, the originality and profundity of thought, the depth of 
historical perspective, the syntactical precision of his long and perfectly 
balanced sentences all of these characteristics of Azana's writing now 
became channeled into oratory. He manipulated paradoxes, invented 
metaphors, and made profitable use of illustrative parody. Lacking only 
in the ability to be brief in spite of his gift for synthesis Azana did 
have the essential quality of all great orators, whicih is lucidity. 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

In his oratory, Azana's underlying aim was invariably didactic and 
dialectic. He took it upon himself to educate Spain to democratic life. 
He was constantly orienting his parliamentary audience to its duties. 
Ever mindful of the Constitution, he was the perpetual pedagogue and 
lawgiver on what a republic is and how a parliament should function. 
He tended always to the academic. Even in his simplest statements to 
the Cortes, Azafia scarcely ever uttered any judgment without com- 
menting on the suitability or legality of that judgment, as in his speech 
of August 17, 1933, when he said, "The radical party, utilizing its 
perfect right, and moreover an opportune one, fixes its political position 
with respect to the Government." 

He wrote down his speeches to the last word, yet he argued extempo- 
raneously with astonishing ease. Always master of himself, he de- 
fended his positions with total aplomb when he was interrupted, which 
was frequently, for at times there seemed to be few gentlemen in the 
Cortes. Although Azafia was given to sudden anger in private con- 
versation, he practically never lost his temper in the Cortes, where 
measured words were often abandoned by the deputies. By mid-1933 
he did, however, begin replying to personal attacks instead of sloughing 
them off, but even the incessant taunts could scarcely provoke him 
from the self-imposed decorum dictated by a pride in his concept of 
civilized public debate. Neither did he lack appropriate theatrics; he 
merely insisted on the same good taste that characterized the artist in 

Azafia usually began a speech by appealing to reason and ended the 
speech by seeking a response from the emotions. His physical mode of 
delivery was predictable too. Every Azana speech was a solemn occa- 
sion. A taut expression of sarcasm and disdain in his voice and person 
became characteristic. Aware that he was generally thought to be cold 
and unemotional by nature, he even alluded to this reputation in a 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

speech that he gave at a Republican banquet in Valencia on April 4_ 
1932. The next month during his great speech of May 27, 1932, in 
the Cortes, he reacted again: "... I, who pass for a hard, intransi- 
gent sectarian man . . . ," and he reiterated in the Cortes on June 14, 
1932, for the third month in a row: "I, with my habitual coldness 
. . , . More than a year later, on August 17, 1933, Azana was still 
trying to convince the Cortes that "although it may be said otherwise, 
I am vulnerable to emotion/' He usually expressed his disdain by 
means of a mimicking or mocking facial gesture. When he wanted to 
stress a point that he was making* he would extend both hands, elbows 
bent in a V, palms upward, fingers separated, and all with the sugges- 
tion of a lifting movement If there was anything notable about the 
voice itself, other than its habitual clarity, it was that the pitch was a 
little higher than the pachydermous head and corpulent torso might 

Recall that Azana was nearsighted. When his eyes were not lost 
behind the thick lenses of his glasses, a condition that contributed to 
his normally expressionless physiognomy, those seemingly compassion- 
less and scornful orbs appeared to threaten and even pierce the object 
of his glance. When die Cortes was in session and Azana was not 
speaking, he would take off his glasses to read some document or refer- 
ence and hold the printed material dose up. Then he would commence 
his nervous habit of putting on and removing the glasses frequently. 
To put them on, he habitually pushed them up over the center of his 
nose. Then he might light a cigarette. He had his, own way of smok- 
ing, which included a propensity for allowing the ash to grow so that, 
if it did not fall on his well-tailored but usually wrinkled suit of British 
wool, as sometimes happened, he would flip off the ash with a slow and 
very precise series of taps of the straightened index finger upon the top 
of the unsmoked portion of the cigarette. When it became his turn to 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

speak, he would extinguish die cigarette and rise with a haughty air of 
confidence and self-possession. 

Sparing of humor, Azana never entertained his audience; he hypno- 
tized it, enchained it, pierced its varied prejudices with incisive arrows 
of logic loosened from an intellect that even his bitterest adversaries 
respected. Although sometimes the profundity of his arguments made 
them too lengthy, Azafla s only consistent oratorical peccadillo was per- 
haps an excessive fondness for the first person singular. (This penchant 
for talking about himself is also apparent in his writings, and it is not 
un-Spanish.) Still Azana spoke so well that his adversaries found it 
hard to oppose him not that their position often was not equally as 
.tenable as his, but they could not match his persuasiveness, born of a 
sincerity of conviction, with sufficient brilliance to neutralize the 
magnetism of his arguments. For Manuel Azana, nearly every speech 
was a triumph. In spite of the jealousies and hates which his success 
had aroused in a few of the most illustrious deputies of the Cortes, 
especially in Alcala Zamora and Lerroux, who were also orators of note, 
Azana gradually became so much the oratorical master of the Cortes 
that his energies were misinterpreted by some as a sign of personal 
ambition dangerous to the Republic. One day a deputy of the opposi- 
tion rose and spoke of the shadow of Mussolini in the Cortes. The 
Spanish opposition press always vilified Azana mercilessly such was 
politics in the Spanish Republic but one would hardly expect to read 
irresponsible reporting in a distinguished newspaper like the New York 
Times. This is just what happened with respect to Azana. 

Reference is to the Sunday, April 2, 1933, edition of the New York 
Times. Page 7 of Section 8 has an article bearing this headline: AZA&A 
A COOL DICTATOR OVER TROUBLED SPAIN. Written in Madrid, the dis- 
patch was signed by Frank L Kluckhohn and was possibly a result of 
his personal enmity toward Azana, though the Times readers of that 

The Republic, 1931-1 934. Ris and Fail of Azana. 

day could only assume that they were reading, as usual, all the news 
that's fit to print. The gist of Kluckhohn's dispatch was that Azana, 
whom he calls one of the "new dictatorial rulers of Europe," is a 
Marxist schemer who "has made Spain a blue-denim land," albeit 
with always a "token of constitutional procedure." This simply was 
not true, yet the article gave the impression that an Azana dictatorship 
was an accomplished fact. Totally unfair to Azana, lines like these 
helped to form public opinion in the USA with respect to the 
Spanish situation. 

Of all the leaders of the Republic, Azana was the one who remained 
the most uncompromisingly legalistic and constitutional. If he did 
have any excess, it was an excess of faith in the Constitution of the 
Second Spanish Republic, a document which was his bible. Dictator- 
ship? With his prestige, Azana had plenty of opportunity for absolute 
rule in a land not unused to dictators, but he rejected all attempts to 
project him into unconstitutional power. At the October 3, 1933, ses- 
sion of the Cortes, when he was accused of personality-cult politics by 
his archenemy Alejandro Lerroux, Azana replied to his accuser: "But 
if I had been ambitious, do you think I would have spent so many 
years in a library writing books which are not important to anybody, 
not even to me myself?" Then he inquired of Lerroux whether he 
thinks he, Lerroux, would now be seated on that bench if in the last 
two and a half years Azana had been anything less than a man of 
probity. What Azana should have asked is whether it seems likely that 
a man bent on dictatorship would submit his "dictatorial" program to 
debate and countenance accusations of his person. "I have had in my 
hands, gentlemen of Parliament," continued Azana, "a power as few 
have had in this country in modern times . . . . With the powers 
invested in the Prime Minister under the famous Law for die Defense 
of the Republic, this was entirely true. What is not generally known, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azanct 

however,, is the entry in Azana's own memoirs 1 of January 15, 1933, 
in which he gives this pathetic account: "Three deputies of different 
parties have spoken to me today of dictatorship, as the only possible 
remedy for the anarchistic uprisings, if they continue. This is the 
national propensity, the after-effects of the past, and what is coming 
from the outside. Is it that Spain cannot live in democracy and under 
law? No one wants to obey unless it is by force. Friends and enemies 
of the Republic and their enemies of both extreme bands are doing 
everything necessary to propagate the idea that 'one cannot go on this 
way/ and thoughts are directed to a dictatorship. The Republic is 
today in pincers." Here is another entry > July 7> 1933, from his mem- 
oirs: "Galarza [Angel Galarza, lawyer, journalist, deputy to the Cortes] 
was there too, who, as on other occasions, was telling me that I ought 
to become the dictator and put an end to all this/' 

These confidences, written in 1933, demonstrate that affairs had be- 
come critical even that early. Still Azana refused to resort to dictatorial 
powers, either then or in 1936, when a departure from strict constitu- 
tionality might have prevented or delayed the Civil War. In the first 
of the two previous quotations, Azana said essentially what he was to 
say again later in his book La velada en Eenicarlo. It is lamentable that 
the man could not find some way, short of dictatorship,, to stop the 
strikes, burnings, killings, and general atmosphere of proletarian agita- 
tion. Some of his statements in the Cortes would seem to indicate an 
indifference to it all, but the truth is that he simply chose to remain 
strictly constitutional. 

If Azaiia's enemies accused him of dictatorship while his friends 
urged him to it, both reactions are traceable to his leadership through 
oratory. To understand this paradox, maybe it should be pointed out 

1 Reference is intended to page 250 o the stolen portion of Azana's memoirs, published 
in Franco Spain in 1939 as Memonas intimas de Azana, edited by Joaqufn Arxar&s. See 
Chapter VI for more data on the stolen diary. 

The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azafia. 

that the spoken word is vital in Spain; and the importance of the 
spoken word is disproportionate to that of actual deeds. This fact, 
which Kluckhohn did not grasp, was the great fault of the Republican 
Cortes, whose deputies were so often given to inordinate admiration or 
criticism of one another's speeches. We in the U.S A would scarcely 
think of classifying the respective competence of our congressmen by 
a yardstick of their oratorical attributes, and many of our Presidents 
have been notoriously poor public speakers, yet we have a stable gov- 
ernment. Azana's star rose, however, with his parliamentary and extra- 
parliamentary oratory, and as time went by, he became increasingly 
vain about his public performances. As a writer he had been generally 
unappreciated; as an orator he was a colossal success. In the prologue 
to Volume I of his 1932-34 speeches (En el poder y en la oyosicion), 
Azana appeared to be convinced that "one speech is worth more to the 
reputation of a man than a dozen books/' Again and again he recorded 
in his memoirs, somewhat immodestly, the extent of his persuasiveness. 
Here are some of the entries at random: 

I have Inspired calm, security and serenity in Parliament I have 
pleased them and they applauded a great deal. 

I improvised a speech which Parliament received with delirious 
acclamation (aclamadones delirantes), 

They applauded very much . . , 

... a resounding success. The majority, standing, shouted their 

... I gave a speech which caused a strong impression. 

Of a speech which was transmitted throughout Spain and to Spanish 
America, he wrote: 

The diffusion df the speech has been extraordinary .... At the 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

President's residence, piles of extremely impressive telegrams are being 
received today. 

... I gave a very lively speech that was found pleasing. 

As Azana himself knew (because he said it), every speech is a kind 
of total collaboration, inseparable from the unreproducible circum- 
stances of the moment, the audience, the sometimes ephemeral nature 
of the topic, and other conditions. Let us picture, nevertheless, Azana 
making his speeches, and in this way trace the course of his leadership 
through the first years of the Republic. Only the most important ad- 
dresses will be listed, or the ones which sometimes led into far-reaching 
political aspects of the Second Spanish Republic. 

Speech of February II, 1930, at a Republican Banquet 

"Liberty does not make men happy; it simply makes them men." 
In this pre-Republic speech, Azana utters for the first time publicly the 
maxim he was to use repeatedly to good advantage and which explains 
aphoristically his concept of a republic. A republic does not give; it 
exacts. Human dignity is achieved only through freedom of choice, 
whose essential condition is personal integrity. Fulfillment of responsi- 
bility to self, therefore, is what makes a citizen in the democratic state. 

Speech of July 17, 1931, at a Banquet Given by Republican Action 
for Its Candidates to the Cortes 

"... if the Spanish Republic goes under, ours will be the blame. 
If we do not know how to govern, die blame will be ours/' 

Speech of September 14, 193 1, at the National Congress of Republican 

Azana rejoices that the Republic has its enemies a sign of health 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azafia 

(compare Unamuno's assertion that a parliament is fecund only when 
it is fired with contention) but anyone who fails to respect the 
Republic will find that "If someone knocks over a chair, 1 will knock 
over the table." 

"Spain has entered the Republican orbit forever .... Notice must 
be given that a monarchy in Spain is physically impossible, and that 
another attempt at dictatorship would only precipitate a social cata- 
clysm/' Prophetic? 

Speech of September 29, 1931, in the Cortes 

Scorning the Russian concept of military discipline, Azana would 
abolish the death penalty in the armed forces* tribunals. Recall that 
Azana was, by preference, Minister of War, a portfolio which he re- 
tained along with the Premiership. 

Speech of October 13, 1931, in the Cortes 

Although he had spoken in the Cortes before, this speech marks 
Azafia's real debut as a great parliamentary orator. Some say it was 
the best speech ever heard in the Cortes. This was the memorable after- 
noon when Azana argued in favor of the famous Article 26 of the 
Constitution, which separated church from state and dissolved the 
Jesuits. Everyone in the Cortes that day knew a great orator had been 
born, and outside in the corridors after the session Azana was sur- 
rounded by deputies who wished to congratulate him. 

Azafia put the complex matter simply: "Espana ha dejado de ser 
catolica" (Spain has ceased to be Catholic). This single sentence, tied 
for eternity to the name Azana, more than anything else he ever wrote 
or said, was his personal declaration of war, rancor from the garden of 
monks finally crystallized into national policy. The ultimate approval 
of the Article by a vote of 178 to 59 took place with the Basque delega- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

tion and other prominent deputies absent in protest and tlie provisional 
President of the Republic threatening to resign. Despite its comfortable 
majority, this vote created the first major schism within the new Cortes, 
and Alcala Zamora did in fact resign. 

As in the case of the legal pronouncements on racial desegrega- 
tion in the U.S.A., the principle involved is less debatable than the 
method of its application and the timetable for its enforcement. Azafia's 
aim was admissible: the independence of the state and its first claim 
upon the allegiance of its citizens. The Spanish Republic should not 
find itself in an inferior position in its dealings with the Vatican or any 
other state. The Republic should enjoy national esteem in the world 
community, especially with respect to Spanish America. In the twen- 
tieth century, the question of separation of church and state is so ele- 
mentary that most nascent parliaments do not even need to discuss it. 
It may even be reasonable to imagine, as did Azana, that Catholicism 
owes more to Spain than Spain owes to Catholicism. Intelligent, en- 
lightened thinking would separate church and state in Spain, and 
Azana always did what was intelligent. But sometimes intelligence can 
exceed practicality. Maybe it was unwise at this juncture for the new- 
born Republic, not yet on its feet, to court the wrath of the Spanish 
church, a power unto itself. 

The unfortunate phrasing of "Spain has ceased to be Catholic," 
isolated from the rest of the text, distorted Azafia's intended meaning. 
In the first place, he did not mean that Catholicism was to be outlawed 
in Spain. His very next lines speak of "personal conscience." He 
meant that the state was no longer to be officially identified with any 
religion, no longer to be dictated to by any collective religious con- 
science. Secondly, these words were intended to be as much a summary 
as a prediction, and should not have surprised anyone: Azana simply 
synthesized the innumerable comments on the religious issue that had 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

already been exchanged on the floor of the Cortes. Few people read 
the speech or heard the phrase in context, least of all those who would 
have admitted privately that Spanish Catholicism of 1931 no longer 
inspired the masses of the Spanish people, who then and now affirm 
their Catholicism more than they practice it. 

Speech of October 20, 1931 , in the Cortes 

This is the speech that secured the passage, on the next day, of the 
highly controversial Ley de Defensa de la Reyullica (Law for the De- 
fense of the Republic), This law, whether justified or not, showed that 
the Republic was already weak, notwithstanding Azana's affirmation 
that the Republic was not in danger, that he wanted the law as a 
standby measure. In effect, this law temporarily nullified Constitu- 
tional guarantees whenever the government (in the person of the Prime 
Minister) chose to invoke it to counter those types of aggression against 
the Republic which the law defined. Both its strength and its weakness 
lay in its definition of what constituted an aggressive act. The Ley de 
Defensa, used frequently and sometimes indiscreetly, became a fright- 
ful weapon for silencing newspapers, breaking up meetings, and haul- 
ing malcontents off to jail. Such was the dilemma of the Republic: 
freedom including freedom to subvert the government and perhaps 
topple the Republic, or Constitutional freedom annullable at any given 
moment by arbitrary and dictatorial administrative fiat? The Ley de 
Defensa was a harsh law, but the campaigns against Azana and the 
government in general were unbelievably scurrilous. The law was 
passed, against opposition from the Right, but there were to be many 
more speeches in which Azana had to defend its operation and 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Speech of December 2, 1931, in the Cortes 

This speech on military policy is one of Azana's best and most con- 
vincing declamations. The study of military matters had been one of 
his principal activities, and as Minister of War Azafia was initiating 
momentous reforms in the organization of the army. Convinced that 
no real military policy had existed in Spain since the end of the 
eighteenth century, he had ruminated for many years on the theories 
which he now possessed the authority to put into practice. Naturally 
the reforms did not go unopposed. 

We have already speculated, in Chapter I, that the origin of Azana s 
interest in military affairs was aesthetic, that basically his mili- 
tary interests were motivated by a desire to curb the disorderly and 
unharmonious effects of the military upon Spanish public and intel- 
lectual life. Fundamentally he detested coercion or violence in any 
form. To put the army in its proper perspective in the new society 
was merely to comply with the spirit of the Republic's Constitution, 
which allowed a standing army only for purposes of national defense. 
Azana s adversaries, however, accused him of malice. They said that 
he had harbored a grudge against the army because of an incident in his 
youth. A story gained currency, and persists today, that Manuel Azana 
was expelled as a cadet from the Toledo Alcazar (military academy) 
on account of "unnatural practices." Even recently, I have heard this 
tale from the lips of several Spaniards old enough to have lived through 
the Republic -Spaniards both inside and outside Spainand I have 
seen more than one reference to it in print (e.g., see S, F. A. Coles's 
Franco of Spain, p. 134, published in 1956); but until someone can 
prove to the contrary, there is no concrete evidence that would indicate 
Azana's having enrolled in any military academy at any time in his life, 
Kluckhohn's New York Times article ("he studied in the military 
academy") notwithstanding. 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azafia. 

As a result of traditional featherbedding, plus die effect of surplus 
personnel from the then-recent colonial wars in Spanish Morocco, the 
army was unrealistically top-heavy with officers. There was one officer 
for every six men. Azafia met the problem headlong with his typical 
bulldozing methods. The Minister of War suddenly found himself 
accused of persecution by some of the very same generals, including 
Franco, who were to lead the rebellion in 1936. Able to sway groups, 
even multitudes, with his oratory, Azafia was undiplomatic in some of 
his personal relationships, particularly when the vested interests of 
others conflicted with execution of the principles in which he believed. 
He was somewhat lacking in what the Spaniards call don de gentes, 
or winning ways. In no way was his political non-professionalism more 
evident than in the rash imposition of his own convictions, honest as 
they were, without regard for personalities, circumstances, or conse- 
quences. The army needed reform; that was obvious. Azana insisted 
on a clean sweep all at once, the same course he had followed in the 
question of state dominated by church. In both cases, what he did 
was as risky as the way in which he did it. 

The most significant of Azana's numerous military reforms was the 
unprecedented Ley de Retires (Deactivation Law), whereby more 
than twenty-one thousand officers were given the choice of pledging 
their loyalty to the Republic or of resigning. The fact that about half 
(Azana said ten thousand) chose to resign was not due exclusively to 
their insecurity under the still-unannounced military policy pertaining 
to the organization of commands and units. Neither was it due to any 
widespread fear of general reprisal for the suppressive role of this same 
army during the years of dictatorship, because a considerable number 
of the officer corps had adopted a liberal bent by 1931, a condition 
evidenced by the fact that the army had not interfered with the decla- 
ration of the Republic, as it might have done. Rather, many officers 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

were tempted to retire and disappear from the scene because Azana's 
generosity allowed them to do so on full yay y and with retention of 
their uniforms and titles, even their arms. Despite this inducement, if 
the Minister of War had been able to organize and equip his divisions 
and to announce assignments first, perhaps more trusted officers would 
have remained, knowing what the future held and receiving proper 
recognition for their loyalty. Thus, perhaps the total result, which saw 
the army reduced from sixteen divisions to eight and the personnel 
budget lowered correspondingly, might have been more qualitative 
than quantitative. Instead of ridding the army of enemies of the 
Republic, the decree allowed many anti-Republicans to conspire all 
the better in comfortable retirement, while enough irreconcilables of 
questionable enthusiasm for the Republic martinets like Francisco 
Franco, Emilio Mola, and Manuel Coded, who would have remained 
under any circumstances not only stayed on active duty and signed 
the oath which they were to break in 1936, but even received key 
commands. One wonders why Azana did not proceed more cautiously 
and perhaps select his own corps of officers, especially the highest ones, 
instead of resolving the matter bureaucratically and trusting to luck. 
Here, right here, was formed the nucleus of the hostile army that 
revolted in the summer of 1936 under the leadership of its officers, only 
a handful of whom remained loyal to the government or, for other 
reasons, refused to revolt. 

The majority of the Guardia Civil (the national police force) also 
declared for Franco in 1936. Always feared, particularly in the rural 
areas, the Civil Guard had been retained practically without reorgani- 
zation from the days of the monarchy and dictatorship. This was 
Azana's second error. The brutality and ignorance of those men who 
wore the three-cornered hat had no place in a modern republic. A 
more elite security corps, the Guardias de Asalto or Assault Guards, 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azafia 

was formed later; still the Gmrdia Civil remained in all its arrogant 
glory. Little by little, one begins to compare the fate of the Spanish 
Republic with that of the German Weimar Republic. Surely the Ger- 
man example had not taught the Spanish Republicans much. While 
the Spanish Republic was following the same precipitate course, the 
Weimar Republic was in the final stages of foundering, not so much 
because of Hitler himself, but because of the weaknesses in political 
structure that made his rise possible, including the conciliatory reten- 
tion of most of the public servants, in and out of uniform, unweaned 
from the authoritarian anden regime. 

Azana's failure to establish a loyal Republican army did not become 
gravely evident until it was too late. Most observers could see that at 
least he was striving for a positive program of military change, salutary, 
it was hoped, for the nation as well as the army. But the War Min- 
ister's transformations were mostly repressive in nature, and in Spain 
it is axiomatic that an army does not long remain politically uncom- 
mitted or neutral, especially when it is the same army from a previous 
regime of privilege. Prior to the Azana reforms, an army officer 
enjoyed numerous special advantages in matters of legal position^ tax 
rate, travel on common carriers, and other fringe benefits which he 
took for granted as part of the privilege of his caste. Azana's aim in 
eliminating or reducing those privileges was to make the army officer 
like any other man in that "democratic Republic of workers." 

Defending the old order, General Emilio Mola Vidal wrote a book 
that he published in 1934 after the Right wing had gained control of 
the government This is the same General Mola whose four columns 
converged on Madrid in the autumn of 1936 and whose fifth column 
(as he invented the term) was inside the city ready to fight from 
within. Entitled El pasado, Azana y el porvenir (The Past, Azana, and 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

the Future), the book was republished in 1940 as part of Mola's Qlras 
completes. Spokesman of an army accustomed to intervention in the 
civil and political life of the nation, Mola, on page 29 of the 1934 edi- 
tion, maintains that "militarism, where it exists, constitutes in itself a 
society which develops a civilization, that is, a morality. The end 
product of this morality is the exaltation of the fatherland by means of 
a simple system: war* This system may not be righteous and it may 
not even be in accord with contemporary philosophical theories; but 
there is not the least doubt that it is the system of natural law: the right 
of might, practiced by mankind since the early tribal era up to the 
present epoch of nations and empires, in which democratic doctrines 
are now in decline." Mola is speaking, but it could have been Hitler. 
The General goes on to prove that (unfortunately, he says) there is no 
militarism in Spain because there is no national mission or ambition. 
Ergo Azafia's treatment of the army was unjustified! After attacking 
Azana's anti-militarism (pp. 158-59), on a later page (275) Mola 
affirms that war is a "natural phenomenon" and an ineradicable "bio- 
logical necessity/ 1 Article 6 of the Constitution is therefore "above the 
laws of the Universe [with a capital U]." 

These are the early manifestations of Spanish fascism, the Falange 
having been founded in October, 1933, with such pseudo-Nietzschean 
ideas of extreme nationalism imported from Italy and Germany. 
In Spain, where writers can become ministers of state, generals of the 
army can become writers. Sach was Mola, national police chief under 
the Monarchy, and destined to head the clandestine Union Militar 
Esfanola (Spanish Military Union), founded in 1934. If Azana 
clipped the wings of the officer class, the U.M.E. in alliance with the 
Fascists helped it to fly again. Besides the support and tutelage of the 
Fascists, the U.M.E. counted on the collaboration of numerous retired 
officers who, having retained their uniforms, could still march in 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and FaH of Azana 

parades, attend official functions, and provoke incidents that tended to 
implicate loyal elements of the army. 

There is no doubt that Azana improved the efficiency and technical 
organization of the army. It is said that both the discipline of the troops 
and the modernization of equipment were noticeably improved when 
the new Minister of War reviewed his first big parade under the 
Republic. But politically the army remained less a threat to aggressor 
nations than to its own government, and in October of 1934 those 
same Spanish public servants in uniform were to arrest unjustly and 
hold prisoner their ex-Minister of War. 

Speech of December 17, 1931, in the Cortes 

"I have always maintained that unanimity is a fastidious thing, and 
that a government without opposition cannot last: because the greatest 
cause of corruption and disintegration of a majority is precisely the lack 
of opposition." 

Azana remained imperturbable before a quarreling parliament and 
restive nation so long as the Constitution and law were respected. His 
often-reiterated "It does not interest me" (no me interesa) can easily be 
interpreted as unconcern or egotism, but the utterance is more likely a 
calculated pose of aloofness to instill respect for the law and to en- 
courage free play of democratic processes. "No me interesa" means 
"I don't like it, and I disagree with it, but I don't interfere with It, 
because it is legal." 

Speech of January 21, 1932, in the Cones 

Incidents of public disorder engendered this speech. Aside from 
Azana's condemnation of their destructive violence, his "no me inte- 
resa" attitude is apparent: "It does not frighten me that there are strikes, 
and in the case of a legal and peaceful strike I cross my arms, as long as 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

order remains undisturbed, because it is a lawfully recognized right." 
" . . . tKe law is inexorable and impassive/' 
"... extreme respect for the Republic and for its institutions." 
Azana invokes the words licito, legitimo, ley, disciplina, and Cons- 
titution with the frequency and force of hammer blows in his 
speeches, just as he had done with very nearly the same political and 
legal vocabulary in La corona. 

Speech of February 12, 1932, in the Cortes 

This is a lively harangue with numerous angry interruptions by 
the deputies. It concerns the suspension of newspapers under invoca- 
tion of the Ley de Defensa. In defense of the action taken, Azana 
affirms that "everybody can say what he likes, as long as he does not 
attack the Republic in its acts defined by law," 

Speech of March 9, 1932, in the Cortes 

More on the same topic, 

"It is inexact to say that the Ley de Defensa de la RepuHica has 
been applied discriminatorily to the press/' Accused of being exces- 
sively legalistic and rigid, Azana replies: "This is the criterion with 
which we govern, gentlemen of parliament: a strict defense of the 
political concept of general freedom, and a repression, of a degree 
suitable to the need, always responsible to and in accordance with 
the exigencies of the situation, every time that someone or something 
infringes upon the guarantees of freedom of the nation as a whole." 

"No nos interesa." 

Speech of March IQ>, 1932, in the Cortes 

On the budget of the armed forces. 

"... without military aviation we are absolutely defenseless, 


The Republic; 193] -1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

because the other nations, with whom Spain could be in conflict, have 
powerful military aviation . . . . 

" . . . Spain is a peaceful country ... we have said so in the 
Constitution . . . but nobody is master of his own peace . . . . 

Speech of March 28, 1932, to the Republican Action Party 

In this talk, entitled "The Republic as a Form of National Life," 
Azana applies a paradox of traditionalism both to himself and to the 
Republic. "Some would be surprised/' he says, "if I stated categorically 
that I am the most traditionalist Spaniard in the Peninsula." And of 
the Republic he asserts that "despite appearances, the present Republic 
is the form most deeply rooted in Spanish tradition/' 

"We are democrats, and because we are, we have a secure policy: 
the law. The law! . . . one governs with the law, with Parliament, 
and a democracy disciplines itself by means of the law . . . . 

Speech of March 29, 1932, in the Cortes 

Speaking on a policy for the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, which 
somewhere in his memoirs he rightly recognized to be the Achilles' 
heel of the Republic, Azana summarizes what has been accomplished 
so far in the rehabilitation of Morocco. Graft and sinecures have been 
reduced, along with the budget and the size of the foreign legion. His 
plan is to send only volunteer soldiers to Morocco and to colonize the 
territory by offering homestead lands. He would clean up and build 
up Morocco, civilize it with schools and sanitation. 

Speech of April 4, 1932, at a Republican Banquet in Valencia 

"... the Republic has come forever, forevermore. And I should 
tell you moreover , . . that no danger threatens the Republic, none, 
of any kind possible," 

"... no me interesa" 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Again he offers a reminder that the Republic does not make men 
happy; what it makes them is, simply, men. 

Speech of May 27, 1932, in the Cortes 

Here is the first of Azana's famous series of speeches championing 
the Catalonian Statute for regional autonomy, a three-hour oration 
that runs sixty-five printed pages until he reaches the last words of 
the brilliant final synthesis. More than a speech, it is a historical 
treatise on the long-standing Catalonian problem, especially insofar 
as the problem is related to its counterpart of stubborn Castilian 
centralism. Solve it now, is his message. He shows how the question 
is analogous to the one of Spanish colonialism. "We ended a war in 
Cuba with the promise of autonomy. It was not fulfilled. A Spanish 
Parliament rejected the autonomous reform that Don Antonio Maura 
brought for Cuba, and it precipitated another war. We had the oppor- 
tunity to compromise and we refused; we preferred to face a war with 
the United States; and the few men who told the truth then to the 
Spanish people, among them a venerable statesman and a young 
writer who at that time was beginning his career and who is sitting 
here, Don Miguel de Unamuno, were reprehended as bad Spaniards, 
traitors, and filibusters." 

At the time that Azana was speaking, the Cortes was empowered 
by the Constitution to grant regional autonomy to any region which 
both qualified for it and wanted it. Certain obstacles, like the question 
of education and its linguistic ramifications (Catalonian versus the 
Castilian language), had to be cleared by amendments before the 
Statute was finally approved by a vote of 314 to 24 on September 9, 
1932. Azafia had rammed another bill through the Cortes, though the 
vote itself did not reflect the intensity of the battle, from which Azana 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

emerged as the most vigorous of all the proponents of Catalonian 

The new hero of Catalonia, Azana himself, journeyed to Barcelona 
a few weeks later to present the Statute formally and to receive the 
homage of an immense crowd, to whom he addressed on September 
26, 1932, a short but passionate speech from the balcony of the 
Generalidad (Catalonian Parliament) on the Plaza de la Republica. 
"A people to whom justice is done," he said, "remains marvelously in 
bondage to the just deed." After so many decades, the hopes of the 
Catalonians seemed finally to be realized. But the Catalonians did 
not "remain marvelously in bondage to the just deed"; so jealous of 
their freedom, they did not learn how to keep their house in order. 

Speech of June 22, 1932, at the Republican Action Center in Madrid 

When has there ever been a revolution which permits such a heap 
of liberties that at times they appear to be libertinism? Azana replies 
with familiar words: "That's the way we Spanish Republicans are 
.... the Republic is immortal. ... the Republic has come to 
Spain forever." 

"He who does not have a sporting spirit cannot govern . . . . 

Speech of June 28, 1932, in the Cones 

This is about the military incident at Carabanchel (see above, page 
90) involving a public verbal clash of loyalties among high-ranking 
army officers. Azana describes what took place. Ever conciliatory in 
his attitude toward rebellious officers, he reaffirms the loyalty of the 
army: "For the army I have nothing but praise; I can only extol their 
moral and spiritual situation. The army, in its great majority, is 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

proper, is loyal to the institutions, fulfills its professional duty. , . , 
the army is composed of good Spanish citizens . . . . " 

Speech of July 19, 1932, in the Cortes 

As his memoirs reveal, Azana was not really so naive about the 
loyalty of the army as his speeches during 1932-36 would suggest. 
What he did was always to adopt in public an attitude of confidence 
in the institutions of the Republic, in order to prevent the spread of 
discontent and mistrust. 

The fears of a military dictatorship were vocalized on the floor of 
the Cortes as early as 1932. In the present speech, Azana attempts 
to neutralize some of Lerroux's apprehensions. This kind of talk, says 
Azana, succeeds only in weakening military morale and in alarming 
the nation unduly. "There is talk about a military dictatorship as a 
possible reaction to a supposed dictatorship of the proletariat and of 
the Socialist party . . . . " Ostensibly Azana is not at all alarmed. 
His unflagging constitutionality would allow all things within the 
limits of the Constitution, including its protection of what he knew 
to be anti-Constitutional elements and causes. ''Repeatedly I have 
said that nothing is more abhorrent in a parliament than unanimity 

Speech of August 10, 1932, in the Cortes 

Here is Azana s account of General Sanjurjo's attempted military 
rebellion in Seville. The uprising is suppressed; there is no reason for 

Sanjurjo's conspiracy had included an attempt to assassinate Azana. 
Azana had learned of the plot but, characteristically, maintained his 
aplomb. When Sanjurjo made his move in Seville, monarchists 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

attacked the Central Post Office and the Ministry of War in Madrid. 
With gunfire visible and audible on all sides, Azana could be seen 
at his balcony in the Ministry, where he tranquilly puffed on cigarettes 
until the rioters were disarmed. Sentenced to death, Sanjurjo was 
reprieved by Azana and sent to jail. Later pardoned, Sanjurjo helped 
to plot the revolt of July, 1936. 

Speech of August 11, 1932, in the Cortes 

More on Sanjurjo's abortive rebellion. As in the speech of the 
previous day, Azana rationalizes that this event has been "most profit- 
able" for the Republic because, since it failed, it proves the "strong 
moral health of Republican institutions/' He continues; "I hold the 
conviction that in view of what occurred, with the lesson received and 
with the measures that the Government and Parliament are going to 
adopt, events like these will never happen again." 

Speech of August 18, 1932, in the Cortes 

Prime Minister Azana was less worried, at least publicly, about the 
army than about the Jesuits and the great landowners. The speech 
of August 18, 1932, is the first of his series of speeches on the expro- 
priation of property from conspirators against the Republic. He would 
deprive of their economic means all those who have declared them- 
selves against the Republic. It is not, he says, a problem that should 
be dropped in the lap of some judge; rather, it is one of which the 
Constitution will allow solution by legislation of the Cortes. Patient 
and outwardly optimistic about the army, Azana takes a different 
position either we finish them or they will finish us as he returns 
to what is fundamentally the religious question. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Speech of September 7, 1932, in the Cortes 

Subject; the seizure of the assets of the Company of Jesus, who had 
been defensively manipulating their financial empire ever since the 
Constitution became effective. By now, Azana's attitude toward the 
power of the church and its composite elements is well known, but 
here he unveils for the first time his innermost motives for bridling 
the activities of the church. Azana's words are revealing, for they 
transcend the simple ideal of citizenship in the church-separated state. 
When Azafia refuses to admit any difference between his action as 
a man of letters and his sentiments as a writer, he addresses the follow- 
ing remark to Ossorio, with whom he had more than one verbal bout in 
the Cortes: "It is an error, Mr. Ossorio, because one cannot establish 
in the spirit of a man such a division and compartmentization; that 
crisis of religious conscience and Spanish conscience, which you have 
had the elegant courtesy to read, is the origin of all the vigor of my 
political action . . . and my trip through the garden [El jardin de los 
frailes], which furthermore you honor by mentioning here, is how I 
have acquired the unbreakable resolution that, so far as it is within 
my power, no Spaniard will come to find himself in a situation 
analogous to the one in which I found myself [italics mine]." Even 
though the deprivation of the church's traditional position in education 
was a question of principle within Azana's concept of citizenship, 
even though it was simply a matter of applying the Constitution, which 
decreed the dissolution of the Jesuits, we know now the depth of 
Azana's resentment. 

Perhaps it is time to mention a little-known circumstance in the 
personal life of Manuel Azana. A few of the apologists for the Franco 
regime have maintained that the Second Spanish Republic was one 
big Masonic plot, that Freemasonry controlled the revolutionary aspects 

The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

of the Republic through its affiliates highly placed in the groups an 
parties of the Left, that Freemasonry cemented the Popular Froi 
electoral bloc of 1936, and that Freemasonry was governing tfc 
country on the day when the Spanish Civil War began all of whic 
is vast exaggeration. One of these apologists is Eduardo Com! 
Colomer, among whose books is one entitled Historic* secreta de i 
Segunda ReyuUica (in two volumes, Madrid, 1954-55), which is 
kind of "Who Was Who" in Spanish Freemasonry during the R< 
public. On page 42 of Volume I, it is claimed that on March 5, 193- 
Manuel Azana was initiated into Masonry and the "Matxitense 
Masonic Lodge, located at Calle del Principe 12, in Madrid. It 
further affirmed (I, 208) that owing to Azana's eminent position i 
government at that time, his secret initiation presented a new oppo 
tunity for a long-standing project of Spanish Freemasonry: Iberia 
union, a form of conspiracy against Portugal. 

Freemasonry in Spain never has amounted to much, because, f< 
one reason, as Gironella observed in his note to the American tran 
lation of his The Cypresses Believe in God, "certain constants of ti 
Spanish temperament operate under any circumstances. A Spanis 
Freemason is not an international Freemason. A Spanish Communi 
is not even an orthodox Communist. In every instance what is cha 
acteristic is a tendency toward the instinctive, toward the individi 
alistic, and toward the anarchic." Even in a land where Freemasom 
might be considered a quasi-revolutionary activity, equivalent 1 
clandestine anti-Catholicism, and a role quite different from i 
devolvement in the U.S.A. into a kind of social organization, it 
difficult to believe that the proud individualist, scoffer, skeptic, an 
intellectual, Azana, had capitulated to secret signs, grips, and rite 
even though one such as he might have subscribed to the Mason; 
code of tolerance, freedom, and obedience to civil authority. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Recently when the opportunity presented itself, I asked several 
prominent Republicans-in-exile whether they knew anything about 
Azana's having been a Mason. The reply was that, though they did 
not know, they doubted it very much. Later I learned on good author- 
ity that it is true, Azana did become a Mason, although I cannot verify 
the date or place of initiation given by Comin Colomer. When I put 
the same question to Azana's widow in Mexico City, her answer was 
no. Her reply seemed genuine enough; she really did not know. It is, 
nevertheless, a fact that Azana was initiated but, because of inactivity, 
did not attain any grades beyond the initial one. He joined probably 
at the urging of his friends; and a man like him, particularly at the age 
of fifty-two (if Comin Colomer's date of initiation is correct), was not 
going to find his already well-defined ideology altered or reformed by 
the rites of Masonry. 

Those in Spain who accuse Azana of being a Mason, as though it 
were a criminal charge (which it is now in Spain), forget one im- 
portant fact: no atheist can be made a Mason. To this extent, the 
Francoist writers have crossed their purposes with inconsistency when 
they call the leaders of the Republic both godless and Masonic. 

Speech of September 9, 1932, in the Cortes 

Having concluded his arguments with respect to the Jesuit empire 
in Spain, in this speech Azana sets his sights on agricultural reform 
that would expropriate lands from the aristocracy. 

Azana's concept of the whole "revolution/* as he calls it, is that it is 
a "work of reconstruction of Spanish society." The old must be torn 
down before the new can be built. "Is it possible to adopt a reform 
measure, one of basic reformation of the economic order, without a 
number of people or a social class being hurt, even though it may not 
be our prime intention to hurt them, and another social class being 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana 

favored by the reform or profiting from it?" Such is Azana's reply to 
Ossorio's charge of persecution of a social class. "So someone suffers in 
the fray! What am I going to do about it, sir! We too have suffered 
[here a prolonged ovation interrupts Azana's words] when we were 
governed tyranically; and, the laborer as well as the intellectual and 
the professional man, we have been censured and abused in our legal 
rights and in our personal lives, and I have yet to hear a voice be 
raised in defense of our dignity as Spaniards and our freedom as men; 
I have not heard one, and I deplore the fact that now the voices which 
are heard here are to defend the lands of a duke or of a marquis/' This 
appeal for support brought down the house with a standing ovation 
from a majority of the deputies. 

Speech of September 30, 1932, in Santander 

Four days after the triumphant address of September 26, 1932, in 
Barcelona (see page 113), when Azana formally delivered the Cata- 
lonian Statute of Autonomy, he journeyed over to Santander to speak 
on what the Spanish embassy in Mexico entitled Presente y futuro 
de la Repullica Espanola (Present and Future of the Spanish Re- 
public) when the following December it published the speech in 
monograph form for distribution in Mexico. At that time the Repub- 
lic's ambassador to Mexico, Julio Alvarez del Vayo, was a supporter 
of Azafia. Alvarez del Vayo wanted to tell Mexicans about the Azana 
government and to publicize the Republic's accomplishments as well 
as its plans for the future. Though Alvarez del Vayo and Azana later 
disagreed on the conduct of Republican affairs during the Civil War, 
the former always openly admired Azana's intellectual qualities, and 
says so in his post-Civil War books. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Speaking candidly on the army, Azana declares that "Spain is not 
prepared to defend herself from foreign aggression/' He summarizes 
the work of the Cortes on military reform, the Catalonian Statute, the 
Agrarian Law, the religious question, the budget, public education, 
public works, etc.; and he speaks of the political parties. He tells how 
he and his party, although aligned with the Socialists, are not Socialists 
in the revolutionary sense of the word; rather that he and they stand 
for "the most elementary things of social justice, which no republican 
can nor should refuse to vote for and establish." 

When Azana's enemies caricatured him as cold, solitary, unap- 
proachable, a constantly disgusted misanthrope, their reaction is par- 
tially traceable to one of his favorite remarks, "I don't have any 
friends/' whose meaning can be misinterpreted out of context like 
"Spain has ceased to be Catholic." In this speech Azana explains 
himself well: "The Republican Action party never will be a party of 
friends, and much less a party of Mr. Azana's friends. . . . The Head 
of the Government [L e., Azana himself], in politics, does not have 
friends nor does he want them. . . . Nobody can hope for anything 
from me personally, neither within the party nor out of it, absolutely 
nothing . . . . That was true: Azana was incorruptible; but he 
did allow himself, perhaps unknowingly, to be surrounded with 

"No me interesa! 1 

Speech of November 14, 1932, in Valladolid 

"And this dryness and this coldness of Castilians, which so much re- 
semble mine, this dryness and coldness of the Castilians on the surface, 
are political virtues. I attribute them to another political virtue, to a 
civic virtue: decorum/' 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

Speech of November 14, 1932, to Military Personnel of the Valladolid 

This is really a group of three speeches, the first one addressed to 
the officers. None of the speeches on this day brought forth the accus- 
tomed clamorous applause. It was a rather solemn occasion. 

With words unmistakably directed to the high-ranking officers, 
Azana admonishes the uniformed men that they have two roles to 
perform: the role of Spanish citizen as well as that of professional 
soldier. After he has reminded the officers pointedly that the military 
is no longer "a privileged class above the rest of the citizens," he con- 
trasts this concept with the one of the past, when on occasions of 
national crisis the army had seen fit to act on its own authority and to 
intervene in affairs of state. "This is what you as military men must 
avoid." Clearly it is an admonition. But then Azana removes the 
sting from the expression "privileged class" by applying the expression 
antithetically: 'privileged class" in that their duty and responsibility 
are greater than those of Spanish civilians. This military duty, he 
affirms, is silent obedience to the legitimate national will, and the sole 
function of the military is to defend Spain from foreign attack upon 
her independence and liberty. The Republic, he concludes, is count- 
ing on the loyalty of its military officers. It is a curious speech: warm 
on the surface, but with its cold core. Plainly it is an exhortation to 
the higher ranks, who could surely interpret his words properly, not 
to do what they actually did in 1936 rebel. 

That day Azana spoke also to the noncommissioned officers. With 
less-calculated words, he pointed out to the men the new ways open 
to personal advancement through merit, while at the same time he 
invoked citizenship, discipline, and service to the Republic. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Speeches of February 2, 3, 23, 24, and March 2,3,7,16, in the Cortes 

Early in 1933 there had been anarchist riots in the east and south- 
eaststrikes, land seizure, minor insurrections of every kind which 
culminated on January 11, 1933, in a violent incident at the town of 
Casas Viejas in the province of Cadiz, where Assault Guards joined 
Civil Guards in a pitched battle against anarcho-syndicalists. A num- 
ber of lives had been lost on both sides, and the Azana government 
was accused of brutality in having ordered an execution of anarchist 
prisoners. Though Azana denied the charges vehemently, the wide 
publicity given to the episode plunged his cabinet into a state of dis- 
repute of which Lerroux and the Right wing made great capital In 
a speech to the Cortes on February 2, Azana expounded his govern- 
ment's position in the matter of public disorder. Then the next day, 
in reply to accusations of Lerroux, Azana defined and redefined obses- 
sively his own concept of constitutionality and reaffirmed that he per- 
sonally was neither authoritarian nor ambitious of power. The in- 
cessant and mostly unjust attacks upon Azana and his party piqued 
his indignation more than usual. On February 23, and still again on 
February 24 midst angry remarks from the floor, Azana continued to 
asseverate to the Cortes that he had not as he had been accused- 
withheld information on the Casas Viejas incident. In additional 
speeches of March 2, 3 7 7, and 16, to the Cortes, Azana was still 
debating the Casas Viejas affair, from which his government never 
regained its former prestige. In his speech of March 2 Azana said: 
"I do not have the slightest pretention to any kind of political grandeur; 
I am not even a statesman, nor have I ever said that I am, nor do I 
aspire to be one . . . . " 


The Republic, 1931-1934 Rise and Fail of Azana. 

Speech of April 9, 1933, in the Bull Ring of Bilbao 

"Don't believe in phantoms/' says Azana, assuring his audience that 
there is absolutely nothing to worry about from outside the Republican 
camp. But even if there were trouble, he is sure that the Spanish 
people would not let themselves be subjugated again. 

Speech of April 26, 1933, in the Cortes 

Azana states positively that he is neither a Marxist nor a Socialist, 
He tries always to maintain his equanimity, he claims, because "it is 
the only defense that a man of government has: not to lose his good 

Speech of October 2, 1933, in the Cortes 

Azana is out as Prime Minister, having resigned in September. 
Lerroux has formed a new government, which appears before the 
Cortes on this day. Every bench is taken. Azana is sitting in the 
center, among the deputies of his Republican Action party for the 
first time. Lerroux and his new government enter. Mildly polite 
applause greets them as they seat themselves at the banco azul. Ler- 
roux reads a speech in which he promises to restore law and order. 
When the speech is over, Indalecio Prieto rises to challenge the new 
government. Then Azana speaks, for the first time as a plain deputy. 
In words taut with emotion, Azana announces his intention to play 
politics as soon as he has liquidated his responsibilities as outgoing 
Prime Minister. He swears he has kept his promise never to engage 
in politics during the more than two years that he has presided over 
the government, Reminiscing, Azana reveals that his underlying moti- 
vation as Head of the Government has been "the ineffable pleasure of 
creating things/' whose dynamics he likens to the work of an artist or 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

artisan. It is a moving speech, one of Azafta's best. Lerroux withholds 
his counterfire until the next day. 

Speech of October 3 } 1933, in the Cortes 

Lerroux has made a speech of personal attack on Azana, a fusillade 
under which a lesser man than Azana might either have squirmed with 
embarrassment or seethed with rage. Instead, Azana sat imperturhahly 
and afterward rose to defend himself with vigorous, but measured, 
words. Azana had hoped for better treatment, he says, on the occasion 
of the last session of die Constituent Parliament. Here is the essence 
of Azana's reply to the malicious attack: "But do you think you annoy 
me? No, nobody annoys me, Mr. Lerroux, for two reasons: in the 
first place, because at bottom I have the asceticism of my race; for 
many, many years I have ceased to worry about all the things of life, 
and, since I have experienced almost all of them, they leave me abso- 
lutely indifferent; in the second place, because I have a devilish pride, 
and nobody annoys a proud man." 

The Lerroux government was short-lived. The Cortes was dis- 
solved, and new elections were set for November 19. 

Speech of October 16, 1933, to the Republican Action Party, in 

"When I presided over the government, an observation was often 
made concerning me. It was said that when I was Prime Minister I 
resorted too much, I conceded too much, to intelligence, to knowledge, 
to the comprehension of things," This may be true, he admits, but he 
is proud of it. 

Azana speaks of the twofold aspect of the world crisis: the economic 
crisis and the crisis of the individual in relation to his state. As he 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fail of Azana. 

takes up die theme of Spain's relationship to other European nations, 
one anticipates hearing some concrete proposal, but he loses himself in 
familiar platitudes on civilization, human life, liberty, civic obligation, 
moral transformation, the sporting spirit of politics, the Spanish people, 
and universal civilization. On the danger of a revolt within the Spanish 
Republic, Azana reasons: "The Republic can go under in only three 
ways, which are already enough [laughter] : either by an act of force 
through violent seizure of the means of power, or by a soft and stealthy 
takeover of institutions infiltrated with a distorted republican spirit, or 
by an electoral defeat. Of the first way, there is no fear at all .... 

On October 29, 1933, scarcely two weeks after Azana had assured 
his party that there was no danger of a revolt within Spain, the Falange 
was founded in Madrid by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of the 
deceased dictator of the twenties. Fascism, which had imposed itself 
on Italy and Germany, had finally come to Spain. Only seven months 
previously, the German Weimar Republic had perished with the vot- 
ing of the "Enabling Act 5 ' on March 24, 1933, a date which, for prac- 
tical purposes, marked the "legal" beginning of Hitler's dictatorial 
power to organize his Third Reich. 

What is fascism and why did it inevitably come to Spain? Although 
the fanatical nationalism known as fascism bore its own type of chaos, 
it had gained its various footholds in Europe as the supposed solution 
to another kind of chaos in which unemployment and the power of 
organized labor were challenging the authority of the state and the 
respect for law. Put simply, and the observation is unoriginal, fascism 
is die last stand of capitalism. As such, fascism is the enemy of the 
proletariat, whether or not the rebellious working class has embraced 
communism as its political vehicle of opposition to the bourgeoisie and 
the aristocracy. It did not matter, therefore, that in 1933 the apparent 
political strength of communism in Spain was practically nil. What 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

did matter was that the guarantees of the Republic had allowed the 
pendulum of power to swing to the Left, after centuries of oppression 
from the extreme Right. The demands of the workers began to exceed 
good sense; incessant major strikes paralyzed the Spanish economy 
and by 1936 had put the Republic in mortal danger. Though initially 
unsuccessful, more because of the determination of the proletariat than 
because of governmental countermeasures, the military uprising of 
1936 was to be the coup de grace for the suffering Republic. 

Proletarian extremism, protected by the constitutionality and folded 
arms of super-democrats like Azana, and even encouraged by less mod- 
erate leaders than he, had created conditions whereby free enterprise 
was scarcely possible. Here are a few examples taken from the personal 
observations of the well-known writer Pio Baroja, who a few years 
later was to declare for Franco: 2 

Eight or ten years ago there were in Madrid some twenty publishing 
houses; of these more than fifteen were small businesses, and only 
three or four were large ones. Because of the demands made by the 
workers, with the backing of the Government, for higher wages, 
shorter working hours, and the hiring of extra printers, all but two or 
three of the publishing houses have had to shut down. As a result 
authors, editors, and printers have been left destitute. The logical 
procedure would be to reckon an industry's capacity first, and then 
make demands accordingly. 

In the construction field the demands of the National Confederation 
of Workers were comical: a forty hour week; a minimum wage of 16 
pesetas ($2J8) a day for peon and mason; if the worker's wife became 
ill, or bore a child, the employer had to shoulder the expenses; if the 
worker happened to be young and was drafted into the army, the 
employer had to continue to pay him half his wages; rheumatism and 

2 The excerpts are taken from an article published by Baroja in La Nation, the Buenos 
Aires daily, and republished as "The Mistakes of the Spanish Republic" in The Living 
Age, January, 1937, pp. 422-27. 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

similar ailments were to be considered as occupational diseases for 
which the employer was to pay compensation. Besides all this, the 
employer was compelled to pay for the upkeep of asylums, schools and 
hospitals. They might as well have added that he was required to 
serve the worker his chocolate in bed, do his washing, and amuse the 
comrades* children! 

The Popular Front sent workers to the farms and compelled the 
owners to pay them whether or not there was work for them to do. 
Many of die owners, seeing that they could not stand the strain, 
abandoned their land; then they were fined. 

An attempt was made to establish Socialist doctrines in the villages, 
but without success. To the village where I spend the summer, Vera 
de Bidasoa, came a Socialist delegate from Pamplona, imposing restric- 
tions. The shops were to be open only eight hours a day, and to close 
on Sundays. This regulation showed how ignorant the politicians 
were of the habits of the shopkeepers in these towns. The village 
shopkeeper's shop is also a part of his house. He eats and lives in his 
small establishment. To close his shop is to close his home. Further- 
more, the people who live in the country districts are in the habit of 
going to the villages very early in the morning, and their shyness and 
distrustfulness make them dislike carrying on their business transac- 
tions in the presence of others; nor do they care to have witnesses when 
they exchange their dozen eggs or piece of lamb for wine, coffee, or 
sugar. The firmly established ways of the peasants cannot be changed 
by a decree or an order. Again, Sunday is the peasants 1 favorite day 
for shopping and bartering, and the only good day for the shopkeepers. 
I do not know if the delegate from Pamplona did or did not believe 
that his orders were going to be obeyed. At any rate, the shopkeepers 
of Vera de Bidasoa and of the nearby villages clung to their old-time 

Democratic socialism, like any other form of democratic political 
theory, is workable only if there is intelligent direction, voluntary 
restraint among the governed, and realistic goals. But in die 1930's 
the extremists among the Spanish Republicans preached a partly 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Utopian, partly anarchistic, partly dictatorial but, above all, unattain- 
able socialism for Spain. Take the case of Joaquin Maurin, for 
example, who in 1935 published a book 3 in which he called for an 
Iberian Union of Socialist Republics; speedy nationalization of every- 
thingland, railroads, ships, industry, mines, banks; abolition of all 
debts; municipalization of transportation and warehouses; state monop- 
oly of foreign trade; six-hour work day (while at the same time quad- 
rupling production!); arming of all workers (including professional 
people); in short, an armed dictatorship of a theoretically democratic 
but largely anarchistic proletariat. 

The success of any democratic process requires, most of all, patience; 
but the Spanish worker of the 1930's was aflame with impatience. So 
varied and individualized are Spaniards' concepts of freedom and 
patriotism, so resistant are Spaniards to collective, long-range political 
goals, that one could scarcely expect them to create a workable socialist 
state without first disciplining themselves to the moderate reforms of 
a popular government. Because too few men of the ilk of Manuel 
Azana could put country above party, union, religion, profession, or 
economic position, democracy brought a new type of disorder to Spain 
while it tried to stamp out the old. The early Azana government, 
instead of attempting to teach discipline, should perhaps have enforced 
it by means of Constitutional amendment, which, unlike the Ley de 
Defensa, might have reinforced the Constitution instead of abrogating 
its authority with discretionary powers that pleased nobody. The very 
fact that fascism gained a foothold points to a deterioration of the 
democratic process. The paradox is, however, that until the founding 
of the Falange, the Comintern and large segments of the "oppressed" 

*Hada h segunda revolution (Barcelona, n.d. [prologue signed April 14, 1935]). The 
same Joaquin Maurin gave the main address, "The Third Spanish Republic," to the Repub- 
licans in exile in New York on April 14, 1962, thirty-first anniversary of the advent of the 
Second Spanish Republic. 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana. 

masses considered Azana to be their enemy and referred to him as a 
Fascist: even on the floor of the Cortes he was practically accused of 
being a Fascist dictator. It cannot be emphasized too often that Azana 
was always on middle ground, but that with the rise of fascism and 
the increasing opposition from the Right, he was forced either to shift 
to the Left or fade from the picture. 

The rise of fascism in Spain was predicted by Leon Trotsky, the 
heretic from Moscow who wrote a series of amazingly prophetic 
pamphlets on the "revolution" in Spain. In one of these tracts (The 
Spanish Revolution in Danger), signed April 24, 1931, with the 
Republic only ten days old, Trotsky wrote that "the defeat of the 
Spanish revolution . . . will lead almost automatically to the estab- 
lishment in Spain of genuine Fascism on the style of Mussolini." But 
there are some important differences between fascism as it developed 
in Spain and the fascism of Italy and Germany. First of all, we have 
already noted how Spaniards tend to replace the international charac- 
teristics of any institution with Spanish ones. Secondly, Spanish 
fascism, unlike the German and Italian prototypes, allied itself initially 
with the church (or vice versa), whose spiritual unity it recognized to 
be an essential factor in producing the strong nationalistic sentiment 
that was its goal in Spain. For the Spanish Fascists the church was a 
means to an end, and not an end in itself, as it could be said to have 
been for the Spanish traditionalists. Thirdly, Spanish fascism had no 
attainable worlds to conquer outside of Spain (with the possible 
exception of Gibraltar), which more than anything else explains the 
durability of Spanish fascism. Fourthly, Spanish fascism not only 
lacked a passionate leader as practical as Mussolini, or as fanatical as 
Hitler, but its writers like Gimenez Caballero invented such nonsense 
("Spain, the land chosen by God"; "the Spaniard was born to rule 
and not be a subject"; "the universal kingdom' of Spain"; "Don Juan, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

the saint of Spain who leads her 'mystically "; "bullfighting, the rite 
of sacrifice and blood to purify our caste") that men like Azana found 
it hard to take them seriously and perhaps thus underestimated the 
possibility of a Fascist revolt. 

Speech of January 7, 1934, at the Bull Ring in Barcelona 

Azana is now playing politics, giving fighting speeches throughout 
the land. Now he is free to attack his enemies and to criticize the 
opposition government. He even claims to be a new man. He has 
already decided, it appears, to move more toward the Left, But there 
are some ideals he can never modify: "They have always reproached 
my policy of relying too heavily on reason, on the serenity of judgment, 
Yes; and I am not disposed to change my ways/' 

Speech of April 3, 1934, in Madrid, to the Constitutional Session of 
the Republican Left Party 

In the national elections at the end of 1933, the parties of the Left 
lost decisively their majority in the Cortes. Azana's archenemy Ler- 
roux emerged as the new power and on December 16, 1933, headed 
a government which was to last until March 28, 1934, Azafia's own 
Republican Action party itself had lost twenty-five of its thirty seats in 
the Cortes. The Right wing, now in command, seemed determined 
to tear down the house that Azana had built. Accordingly some of 
the Left-wing parties agreed to find a means to new strength through 
unity. It was decided to amalgamate Azana's Republican Action group 
with the parties of Marcelino Domingo and Santiago Casares Quiroga 
to form a stronger fourth party. 

Azana had just been named president of this newly formed Republi- 
can Left (hquierda Repullicana) party, a party less to the Left than 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azana 

its name would indicate. Although lie maintains he did not seek the 
post, this is his speech of acceptance and appreciation. "Today is born 
a new republican party, composed of three parties which have been 
dissolved and whose followers will surely be with us. We are born 
because general republican opinion has wished it thus." The new 
Azana speaks with an air of false modesty. His partisan speeches do 
not ring so true as did his nonpolitical ones in the Cortes. But times 
have changed. With the Republic casting about in treacherous waters, 
pretense was a form of valor. 

Speech of April 16, 1934, in Madrid, to the Young Republicans 

Speaking to youth, Azana declares that the future of the Republic 
depends upon young men who know how to do things well and who 
will not be discouraged easily by failures. Take his own case: the 
Republic is three years old and yet he must start anew. But he has 
learned something: that inflexibility of personal conviction in politics 
does not pay, because "public justification is necessary in politics, and 
I was unable to transmit either my own prescience or my own convic- 
tion to the millions of citizens who support the Republic .... One 
must be resigned!" Here, as he had done before, Azana invokes the 
sporting spirit in politics: if the opposition gets one goal, well get five. 

The sporting spirit is of course a democratic political ideal, but 
little more than lip service is paid to political fair play even in the most 
traditionally democratic countries. Yet Azana, even the new Azana, 
never let go of that ideal which he called the sporting spirit. His dedi- 
cation to it left him ever vulnerable to the machinations of unscrupu- 
lous opponents; there was nothing sportsmanlike about the revolt of 
the army in 1936. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Speech of April 21, 1934, in Bilbao 

This speech, entitled Grandezas y miserias de la politica (The 
Grandeur and Misery of Politics), is one of Azanas best known, de- 
servedly so. The scholarly and philosophical discussion of democracy 
as a concept of government, together with an illuminating commentary 
on the nature and origin of revolutions, makes this speech a classic 
Azana raises the questionin the most significant part of the speech 
whether a person eminent in one of the arts can serve actively and 
successfully in the political life of his country. He concludes that 
politics, like art or love, is not a profession, but instead a faculty. 
Eloquence is helpful, but there have been a lot of eloquent fools. "Of 
a man who does not feel a thrill face to face with a beautiful woman, 
we can say without calumny that he does not have the erotic faculty; 
and of a man who does not feel emotion when he is faced with a 
political matter, however well he may speak, we can say that he does 
not have the political faculty. Political emotion is the sign of the 
vocation, and the vocation is the sign of the aptitude. ... At the 
bottom of all great political emotion there is always a little bit of 
quixotism . . . . This political emotion must include a historical 
sense as well as a sensitivity to people, opinions, and things of the 
moment to realities, What must the politician avoid most? Loss of 
his ingenuousness and his spontaneity through exaggeration of either 
the qualities or defects which the masses attribute to him. What is 
Spain's greatest ill? According to Azana, it is lack of moral vigor: 
weakness of civic spirit. 

Burdened with the collective Spanish conscience that he had im- 
posed upon himself, disheartened by the electoral defeat of late 1933, 
exhausted from his previous duties as Head of the Government and 
present responsibilities as head of the new Republican Left party, 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fail of Azana. 

pressed constantly to deliver speeches, Manuel Azana needed a respite. 
Having learned to appreciate the benefits, real or imagined, of thermal 
baths, he spent much of the summer of 1934 in Catalonia, in and 
around the spa of Sant Hilari (San Hilario) in Gerona. He returned 
there again in the summer of 1935, after a tumultuous year between 

Trouble had been fomenting in Catalonia ever since the national 
electoral victory of the Right wing at the end of 1933. All of Spain, 
in fact, was smoldering with the same fundamental conflict between 
labor and management, between peasants and landlords, a struggle in- 
tensified by the electoral reversal from Left-wing domination. General 
strikes and worker violence were met with governmental repression and 
brutal police methods. At the same time, the politicians were quarreling 
among themselves. In the Basque provinces, which still envied Cata- 
lonia its Statute of Autonomy, municipal legislation sometimes con- 
flicted with national laws, and heads of local government were impris- 
oned or they resigned in protest against the Cortes' failure to act on 
the Basque Statute. Because the national agrarian laws were left unen- 
forced, the Catalonian Parliament passed its own agricultural law, 
declared illegal by the national Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees. 
Then the Basque and Catalonian deputies strode out of the Cortes, 
and Luis Companys promulgated the law anyhow, despite the trustee- 
ship of Republican authority in Catalonia inherent in his office as 
President of the Catalonian government. Separatist sentiment was 
burning everywhere. In Catalonia, Companys fanned the flame with 
passionate speeches, while Largo Caballero preached proletarian revo- 
lution to his Socialist workers. Although Manuel Azana, the voice of 
moderation, disapproved of any organized rebellion that might lead to 
an overthrow of the government, and privately counseled the leaders 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

of the Left against such activities, he declared publicly that the Left- 
wing Catalonians were the only remaining republican force in Spain. 

According to law, the national Cortes met on October 1, 1934. The 
cabinet promptly fell, an event which in the popular mind presaged a 
possible Fascist sabotage of the Republic. The large cities suffered 
another general strike, which turned out to be the first phase of the 
Left's own armed rebellion that led to two months of martial law in 
Spain. Even one who is so anti-Franco as Salvador de Madariaga claims 
that the rebellion of 1934 stripped the Left of every shred of moral 
authority to condemn the military revolt of 1936. 4 Maybe he is right, 
but in 1934 the law ultimately prevailed whereas, without means of 
enforcement, it did not and could not prevail in 1936. 

In Madrid the conflagration was promptly extinguished and Largo 
Caballero was jailed. In Asturias, largely in the city of Oviedo, a short- 
lived but full-scale civil war ensued. The Spanish army was sent to 
crush thousands of miners, who used their ample quantities of small 
arms and huge stores of dynamite to blow up the University when 
defeat became imminent. The workers, who had set up a local prole- 
tarian dictatorship, committed as many atrocities as did their con- 
querors. It was a nasty situation, more than a thousand killed and 
another several thousand casualties, the kind of violence that Azana 
abhorred. In Catalonia, Companys had proclaimed a de facto Cata- 
lonian state as part of a Spanish Federal Republic. At the same time 
he publicly invited anti-Fascist leaders to establish in Barcelona a pro- 
visional national government. This invitation led to the unjust impli- 
cation of Azana in that abortive Barcelona separatist rebellion, which 

4 Salvador de Madariaga, Syain: A Modern History (New York, 1958; latest revision), 
p. 435. Alejandro Lerroux, also writing in exile, made the same observation on page 321 
of his book La yequew historia, Espafia 1930-36 (Buenos Aires, 1945), 


The Republic, 193M934. Rise and Fall of Azana 

saw Companys jailed on October 7 and the Catalonian Statute sus- 
pended. Even the old rival Lerroux knew that, come what may, Azana 
was no separatist. 

On September 26, 1934, Jaime Garner Romeu, a rich and honest 
Catalonian who had been Finance Minister in Azana's government, 
died of cancer in Barcelona. An industrialist himself, Garner had been 
an opponent of the famous and infamous millionaire Juan March. 5 
Together with Indalecio Prieto and Fernando de los Rlos, Azana went 
to Barcelona by train to attend Garner's funeral and was still in Barce- 
lona when the fighting commenced on October 6. Without evidence, 
or even a specific charge, the police arrested Azana at the home of a 
friend. As a maximum-security measure, ridiculous in itself, Azana 
was kept incommunicado on one and another warship in the Barcelona 
harbor. Early in the evening of October 9 his "detention" was first 
announced over the radio in Spain. Azana's wife Dolores and her 
brother Cipriano Rivas Cherif took a train to Barcelona. Scarcely had 
they installed themselves at a hotel when the police came to search 
Sra. de Azafia's room and baggage. (Azana later asserted that he and 
his family had been under surveillance ever since his resignation from 
the Premiership.) Although Sra. de Azana arrived on October 12, 
she was told she could not see her husband until November 2. When 
his "detention" became prolonged, however, she was allowed to visit 
him on the ship every morning. 

Azana wrote a book in which he recorded all his anxiety of those 
days in Barcelona. It is entitled Mi rebelion en Barcelona and was 

5 Juan March, one of the richest men in the world and backer of General Franco, died 
in Madrid on March 10, 1962, in his early eighties. Jailed for illegal Business procedures 
during the Republic, he helped sabotage the Republic and outlived almost all his Republi- 
can antagonists. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

published by Espasa-Calpe in 1935. 6 Its frontispiece consists of a docu- 
ment "To Public Opinion" which affirms Azana s integrity, condemns 
his persecution, and bears an impressive list of signers who have pro- 
tested his arrest, none of whom were his political coreligionists. This 
document, signed in November of 1934 by men like Azorin, Americo 
Castro, Federico Garcia Lorca, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Eduardo Mar- 
quina, Gregorio Maranon, Ramon del Vafle Inclan, and Alejandro 
Casona, was prohibited from publication in any newspaper of Madrid. 
Azafia dedicated his book to Angel Ossorio y Gallardo, who had served 
as Azafia s lawyer in the case until it was finally dismissed. Ossorio y 
Gallardo had been a member of the Constituent Cortes and had headed 
the committee which edited the first draft of the Republican Constitu- 
tion. Basically a conservative, a real gentleman, and a veteran of lost 
causes, Ossorio declared for the Republic when the Civil War broke 
out in 1936. He exercised several important ambassadorships during 
that war and remained in Buenos Aires at the end. Always a prolific 
writer on legal topics, and the best source of data on the Azaiia case, 
Ossorio y Gallardo in exile continued to earn a living with his pen. 
In November of 1942 the J.R.E. or Juventud RepuUicana Espanola, 

6 Tliis was not Ms only book during the 1931-36 years. He published collections of Ms 
speeches (see above page 93), the second edition of Ms StaS-Holstein translation (see 
Appendix) in 1931, the translation of another George Borrow work (see Appendix) in 
1932, also in November of 1932 a study on "El teatro de Galdos" in I/Ere Nouvelle of 
Paris, and in 1934 a book of four essays under the title La invention del Quijote y otros 
ensayos (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe). The tide essay, "The Invention of Don Quijote" has 
already been noted on pages 64-65. The second essay, "Tres generaciones del Ateneo" 
(Three Generations of the Ateneo), Azana had originally read as a lecture when he was 
president of the Ateneo back on November 20, 1930. If he could have known then what lay 
ahead in December of 1935 when the Ateneo was to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary! 
The third essay, "Valera," is biograpMcal, like Ms other studies of Valera. The fourth 
essay is a short study of Valle Inclan entitled "El secreto de Valle Inclan" (The Secret 
of Valle Inclan), which had appeared previously in La $luma. None of the other three 
essays had been printed in La pluma, Esyana, or anywhere else. 

Why and how did Azana continue to publish books midst the travail of Ms official 
functions during the Republic? Balzac once wrote: "The power of reflection in the 
midst of the complications of life is the unmistakable sign of a strong will. 1 ' 


The Republic, 1931-1934. Rise and Fall of Azaria. 

a Republic youth organization in exile, published in Mexico City a 
seventy-six page pamphlet entitled Azana: Una vida al servitio de 
Espaiia, a work of homage to Azana by a number of notable exiled 
Republicans. One of the contributors was Ossorio, who wrote suc- 
cinctly but significantly on the Barcelona affair and the effect that it 
left on Azana: 

Among the infinite dirty dealings and infamies of the Government 
of Sr. Lerroux [in his book Lerroux disclaims responsibility for 
Azana's detention] and the CEDA [Confederation Espanola de 
Derechas Autonomas, a Catholic Right-wing political organization 
headed by Jose Maria Gil Robles, and thought to have collaborated 
with the Fascists], there is none which surpasses that extraordinary 
outrage. [Azana] is imprisoned on a boat without its being known by 
whose order, he is thrown before a Military Judge and a Civil Court 
Judge and the House Supplicatory Commission, all of whom do the 
most foolish and absurd things to hold prisoner a man whom they 
cannot find any way to accuse of anything; that imprisonment is 
prolonged about three months without anybody's indicting the pris- 
oner, even though in Spain nobody can be held without indictment 
more than 72 hours; the prisoner is a member of the Cortes whose 
apprehension the Constitution prohibits except in a case of ftagrante 
delicto [a fact which Lerroux claims to have pointed out to the Judge], 
a Constitution whose desuetude is mocked by the President of the 
Cortes; the Head of the Supreme Court resorts to the most repugnant 
maneuvers so that the case will go on and on and on and so that 
the people can be deceived into attributing nefarious political crimes 
to Don Manuel; the Cortes, which never grants letters rogatory to 
prosecute any deputy, not even for common-law crimes, grants this 
one, "because it is not a juridical question but a political one and it 
is advisable to clear it up"; with wicked intention the Prime Minister 
supplies newspapermen with the most opprobrious and calumnious 
information; the Government takes to the Cortes a bill to render the 
Supreme Court ineffectual in order to expel the judges who do not 
lend themselves to the consummation of injustice; and at the end of 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

three months' imprisonment and another three months' proceedings to 
execute the formalities requested, the Supreme Court rejects the prose- 
cution of Azana and issues a stay of proceedings. So in a country 
where as I have just said no one can he held without arraignment, 
an ex-Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of the Republic 
has been jailed for three months without any charge being brought 
against him, and accused slanderously for six months, by a Govern- 
ment none of whose courts has been able to prove the slightest trace 
of a crime. This happened during the Republic, One ought not be 
too surprised at what has happened since. 

Azafia honored me by making me his defense lawyer. In this 
capacity I went to visit him one day on the destroyer "Barcaiztegui" 
["Sanchez Barcaizteguf], the last ship that served as a jail for him. 
My daughter went with me to the harbor. The ship was anchored at 
four meters from the dock. Don Manuel, wearing a beret, appeared 
aft. As soon as he saw us he turned to my daughter and in the best 
countenance imaginable said: 

"Josephine, take a good look because it is the last time you will see 
me without paying. As soon as they take me to the Madrid jail I am 
going to charge five pesetas per ticket." 

I boarded the ship and closeted myself with my prisoner in a small 
wardroom that was part of his quarters. I was with him more than 
three hours while we crammed ourselves with candy, because each of 
us had a terrible sweet tooth. What was that man's state of mind? 
What was under his skin? Grief? Wrath? Fear? No. Disgust. An 
absorbing, overbearing, unconquerable disgust. That spectacle of 
treason, ingratitude, abasement, and collective meanness, that moral 
poverty of Republican officials, that indecorous attitude of a Parlia- 
ment, indecorous not because it refused to defend him but because it 
would not defend itself, the barefaced lies from the top echelon of 
Government (that he had written an anarchistic and destructive mani- 
festo, that he had given an inflammatory speech from a balcony, that 

Upper left: Azana in custody on the snip, Barcelona, 1934. Center: Victorious arrival 
of Nationalist troops at Puigcerda on the French border, 1939. Lower left: Loyalist refugees 
from Catakraia entering Erance at Le Perthus, 1939. 


The Republic, 1931-1934 Rise and Fall of Azana 

he had fled through a sewer! etc., etc.), that vacillation of Justice, 
which in the final analysis was the only thing that saved him but 
which also displayed lamentable weakness ... all of it, everything 
which occurred at that time was something more than unjust and 
vexatious: it was nauseating. 

The essentials of the case are thus synthesized. 7 Here are some of 
the external details, again in translation from Ossorio's account: 

He is led from his lodging to police headquarters, to the Judge 
Advocate, to the Major General, to the steamship "Ciudad de Cadiz/ 1 
tumbling along between two civil guards with rifles, bayonets fixed. 

On his arrival at the Major General's office he is not allowed to go 
to any room, rather he is left to sit in the patio between his two guards. 

For the officer of the Civil Guard, the prisoner is no longer Don 
Manuel Azana: he is "the escortee." 

The clumsy haggling about quartering him on the "Ciudad de 
Cadiz" is endless. 

His wife goes to Barcelona, asks permission to see him, and is put 
in turn for a visit two weeks later. 

During Azafia's incarceration his only brother, Don Gregorio, pre- 
siding officer of the regional high court in Zaragoza, dies exasperated 
by the disgusting events. 8 Don Manuel tells me with a bitter smile: 

'Will you believe me that the Prime Minister has not sent me his 
condolences? Neither a message, nor a telegram from his secretary, 
nothing, absolutely nothing. I who have just governed the nation as 
provisional Prime Minister do not exist any longer in either an official 
or private capacity . . . , " 

That man, whom I had seen courageous and smiling on the tenth 
of August of 1932 when Sanjurjo's sublevation put his life in immi- 
nent danger, now appeared before me as exhausted, beaten, his faith 
gone, his illusions lost. 

? For more information, see the copies of letters in tlie Appendix. 
8 Gregorio Azana died of a heart attack on November 24 and was buried in the family 
plot in ALcala de Henares, his body taken there from Zaragoza. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

And this was true. In die spring of 1935 the case was dismissed, 
though Azana had been released from custody on December 28; but 
imagine the impact of the entire affair upon an individual so proud, 
even by Spanish standards, as Manuel Azana. From then till the end 
of his life in 1940, he was a disillusioned man who had aged notice- 
ably. One day he confided pessimistically to Cipriano Rivas Cherif, 
"The Republic is finished," an opinion later confirmed by the Civil 
War. The six months' outrage had shattered his faith in Spanish 
Republicanism. It had also left him with a retaliatory rancor, although 
the book in which he summarized laboriously everything that had 
happened to him in Barcelona, the terribly tedious Mi rebelion en 
Barcelona, was a work surprisingly more self-vindicative than vindic- 
tive. With nothing proved against him, the attitude of self-justification 
was hardly characteristic of as he had been labeled so often an 
aspirant dictator. 

Azana's persecutors had miscalculated. They did break him physi- 
cally and wound his pride irremediably; for the man who has been to 
prison, even though he is released later as innocent, always bears a 
stigma, like the innocent victim of rape. But the Fascists, Monarchists, 
and other schemers among the Right wing had wanted to silence Azana 
by isolation, thus to reduce their political opposition. Instead they 
only succeeded in bringing his name into public focus again. Even 
though Azana may have felt that the Republic was finished, he stuck 
by it as a parent clings to his dying child, or a captain to his sinking 
ship. Love or duty, whatever it was, his self-identification with the fate 
of the Republic re-established Azana s popularity in 1935 and carried 
him the following year to the very Presidency of the Republic. 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. 
Apotheosis of Azana. 

"IT WAS inevitable that Azana s popularity and authority should grow 
in proportion to his unjust persecution/' 1 Diego Martinez Barrio wrote 
this in 1943, with the Republic and Civil War behind him, when there 
was time for reflection. He wrote it with perfect candor of conviction. 
A Spaniard himself, and high official of the Republic, Martinez Barrio 
did not feel constrained to explain, to reinforce, or to restrict in any 
way the generalization implicit in this statement, one in which non- 
Spanish peoples might see a non sequitur. Something inherently Span- 
ish emerges from this logic, something paradoxical that helps to explain 
also the electoral victory of the Popular Front alliance. 

In Spain and the Spanish countries, there is hardly any surer key 
to "popularity and authority" than the touchstone of a jail sentence, 
particularly an unjust one, though the political climate and reportorial 
bias can often make it difficult to distinguish the just from the unjust. 
Until 1934 Azafia had managed to stay out of jail. Most of the promi- 
nent conspirators of the Pact of San Sebastian were imprisoned after 

1 Diego Martinez Baxrio, Origenes dd Prente Pojwlar esyanol (Buenos Aftes, 1943), 
pp. 25-26. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

the Jaca uprising in 1930. Their martyrdom therefore exceeded his, 
and neither they nor the Republican masses ever really forgot that. 
Even the Right-wing press of then, and now, uses words to the effect 
that "he wasn't even in jail" to belittle Azana's role in the formation 
of the Republic. In 1934 Azana finally became a martyr. Since 
Companys and Largo Caballero also accompanied him behind bars, 
their prestige rose too, although they may have been guilty and he was 

Can there be in such matters as the prestige-generating incarceration 
some psychological transfer from Catholicism, whose most revered 
saints are martyrs? Do not Spaniards react as Catholics to such con- 
cepts as life, death (fate, in the sense of doom), marriage, glory, sin, 
"dejar nombre" even when they are anarchists or atheists? Every 
people has its own collective psyche, even when, as in the compara- 
tively young U.S.A., a national ethos has emerged from a blend of 
heterogeneous traits. Every total atmosphere is formed by an aggregate 
of persistent small things. At an early age a person becomes repre- 
sentative of a given ethos when he learns to accept the validity and 
inevitability of these small things without justifying them. I once 
stayed in a Spanish town where the seemingly incessant clanging of 
church bells just one of the myriad Catholic externals in a Catholic 
country woke me up too early every morning and frazzled my nerves 
periodically throughout the day. Why? Because I was unused to 
ubiquitous church bells; theirs was not one of the accustomed sounds 
of my day-to-day life. Yet one can be sure that the sound itself dis- 
turbed no anarchist or atheist of that town, nor would he object to a 
bell ringers* union, while at the same time he might be shouting, 
"Down with the church!" Just as there exist conditioned national 
patterns of reaction to the composite of sensory stimuli among a people, 
also certain generally predictable and equally national conceptual pat- 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana. 

terns must develop from the composite of spiritual and intellectual 
stimuli. What is glory, what is heroism, what is pride, what constitutes 
an insult, what constitutes manliness, what constitutes success? These 
concepts vary in definition from people to people, and also from religion 
to religion when a given religion dominates the spiritual life of a 
people. Catholicism defines glory, for instance, by the example of its 
martyrs, beginning with Christ (an anarchist who succeeded, said 
Malraux in Mans Hope); and Spaniards swim in a river of Catholic 
ideals which channels the reactions of the individual, whether or not 
he practices the rites of that religion or even formally subscribes to it. 
One of these reactions, then, is the respect due martyrdom, and it is 
not any wonder that Manuel Azana emerged from prison strong in 
prestige if weak in spirit. 

As soon as he was released, Azana plunged back into politics, after 
first having defended himself against new attacks in a speech to the 
Cortes on March 20, 1935. Having analyzed the reasons for their 
defeat by the Right in the 1933 elections, the Center and Left-of- 
Center parties were beginning to see that their best chance to regain 
control of the government in any future elections would be through 
the establishment of a pre-election coalition: a unified program and 
slate of candidates that would avoid dissipation of strength among the 
numerous small parties. To this end, the representatives of three 
parties signed a document in Madrid on April 12, 1935. The pact 
set forth seven principles of a united program while concomitantly it 
allowed each party to remain a separate entity. The signers of this 
document were Azana for Republican Left, Sanchez Roman for the 
National Republican party (Partido National RepuHicano), and 
Martinez Barrio for Republican Union (Union Eepullicana). After 
these groups began work on their joint program in the summer of 
1935, with great speeches by Azana, other parties joined them to form 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

what became known later as the Frente Popular (Popular Front), 
whose formal pact among nearly all Left parties (including Socialist 
and Communist) was signed on January 15, 1936, just eight days 
after President Alcala Zamora had authorized new elections to the 
Cortes. It was arranged that a single slate would go into office if the 
Popular Front were victorious, but that whoever went into office was 
duty-bound to carry out the aim of the entire Front. Even the Anarch- 
ists gave their moral support and in some cases their votes. 

If a voting Anarchist appears to be a contradiction in terms, it is 
even stranger to tell that during the Civil War certain Anarchists held 
regional political offices as well as military commands. The Anarchists 
claimed that their presence in government was only an emergency 
arrangement, because they refused to be identified as a political party. 
Followers of Mikhail Bakunin, who differed violently with Marx on 
the question of individualism, as opposed to collectivism, in their other- 
wise similar social doctrine, were in Spain a unique breed of uncon- 
trollables who typified the Spanish tendency to cast international insti- 
tutions in a national mold. Spanish individualism probably gave 
Bakuninism its foothold in Spain when the movement failed to attract 
followers elsewhere. Having rejected compulsory law and government, 
the Anarchist made his social doctrine almost a kind of religion in its 
reliance upon the integrity and innate goodness of the individual in his 
dealings with the large or small community of other human beings. In 
terms of political theory, anarchism is communism without a central 
government endowed with absolute powers. In practice, the Bakunin 
variety of Anarchist was a revolutionary, expert in the art of destruc- 
tion. In Spain the Anarchists specialized in arson, with a predilection 
for the burning of churches. During the early part of the Civil War, 
many loosely defined Anarchists formed undisciplined bands of 
marauders, an embarrassment to the Republic, of the type who indis- 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana 

criminately burned and destroyed the city of Inin before its fall. If 
anarchism, like communism, is tenable in some of its theories, an- 
archism in practice was as Russian communism still is a nightmare 
of intolerance toward the opposing individual's political opinions. 

Aware that in a Popular Front program he would have to compro- 
mise more than he had ever done before, and consort with elements 
whose revolutionary tendencies exceeded his own by far, Azana appar- 
ently recognized that the time had come for Machiavellian politics. 
He knew that the Popular Front was a Russian concept, but the task 
of the moment was to salvage the Republic, even if Republicans had 
to ally themselves with Communists to survive. Azana knew also that 
if the Popular Front did succeed in winning, the election would be 
close and the nation harder than ever to govern. But chances had to 
be taken. 

Azana made three eloquent speeches in 1935. Together with a 
fourth speech, they form a book which the Espasa-Calpe firm published 
in 1936 under the title Discursos en campo dbierto (Speeches Out in 
the Open). Though all these speeches appeared in newspapers and 
probably Azana would have had them published in book form any- 
how, since that was his custom, this time he had a special reason 
for their publication as a unit: the book came out as soon as practicable 
after the formalization of the Popular Front in January, and before 
the elections. The first speech, die one before the Cortes, was not 
physically "en campo abierto"; but according to Azana's own estimate, 
the other three were delivered before a combined total of seven hun- 
dred thousand people, the third one having been addressed to the larg- 
est open-air audience ever gathered in Spain. On May 26, 1935, Azana 
spoke at the Campo de Mestalla in Valencia. In the text of this speech 
he referred to the assemblage as "one hundred thousand Republicans." 
It was a fighting speech in which he attacked the existing government 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

with every weapon in his verbal arsenal Then on June 14 he spoke 
before another huge crowd at the Campo de Lasesarre in Baracaldo, a 
suburb of Bilbao up in the hills which surround the Basque capital. 
He leveled the same broadsides at the government but had very little 
that was concrete or positive to offer beyond an invocation of the usual 
platitudes of regeneration, social justice, Republic, freedom, democracy, 
and so forth. 

Before Azafia made his next speech, he took his wife to Paris, Hol- 
land, and Belgium for a late-summer vacation of about a month. 
Autumn found him back in Madrid preparing for what must be con- 
sidered the zenith of his popularity, his speech of October 20, 1935, 
at the Campo de Comillas, Madrid* It was fitting that Manuel Azana's 
greatest day should have come on the outskirts of Madrid, the city 
which had been the focal point of his productive literary and political 

Campo de Comillas was a barren hillside at Carabanchel, a working- 
class suburb on the southern bank of the Manzanares river, a vantage 
point which gives the same panorama of Madrid that Goya painted. 
The space had been walled in to make a kind of meeting ground for 
the people who flocked there from all over Spain on that bleak Sunday 
morning. They came by car, truck, train, bus, horse, donkey; and 
tens of thousands came on foot. Although admission was by tickets, 
whose prices ranged from one to five pesetas, the gathering was so 
huge that it seemed to spill over the whole barren terrain, and thou- 
sands of the spectators could scarcely see the speaker. Loudspeakers 
tad been set up but did not work well. Unable to see or hear, many of 
that great assemblage could hope only to share the tide of mass emotion 
generated that day. 

The occasion is even more fantastic when the other circumstances 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana. 

are known. Henry Buckley was there that day and commented (Life 
and Death of the Spanish Republic, p. 182) in die following manner: 

The meeting had not been widely advertised. It was frowned on by 
the authorities and in some cases the Civil Guard turned back convoys 
of tmcks carrying spectators. All vehicles bringing people from afar 
were stopped some miles outside Madrid, thus causing endless con- 
fusion and forcing weary men and women to trudge a long distance 
after a tiring ride , ... No one was forced to go to that meeting. 
Presence there, in fact, was much more likely to bring the displeasure 
of employer or landlord. How many of the great figures of Europe 
to-day could bring together spontaneously, without the slightest party 
organisation or preparation, a mass of 200,000 people in order to hear 
a speech lasting less than two hours and not accompanied by the most 
simple form of parade or demonstration which could appeal to the 
spectator of pomp and show? 2 

Had these people come only to hear Azana or had they come in a 
spirit of protest? There had been, at the time, a financial scandal impli- 
cating Rightists in the government. As a result, an increase in unrest 
was anticipated from the Left, who feared that the embarrassed Right 
would resort to a golpe de estado. Each side was alert to an explosion. 
The Comillas assemblage was a pacific show of force by the Left, a 
demonstration of mass solidarity that could hardly have failed to im- 
press anyone. Not a single noteworthy incident occurred that day 
despite the jostling of the crowds by cavalry, summoned by the govern- 
ment, and the presence of truck-mounted machine guns at strategic 
places. The Popular Front's guards controlled their own rabble rousers 

2 Azaiaa himself estimated the crowd at four bundled thousand. Rivas Cherif told me he 
thought it was closer to one-half million. Antonio Ramos OHveira claims one-half millionj 
Claude Bowers says one-quarter millionj Frank Jellinek vacillates between one-quarter 
million and four hundred thousand; Constancia de k Mora says over four hundred thou- 
sand. The London Times of October 22, 1935, which covered the speech (the New York 
Times did not), said two hundred thousand. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

as well as the opposition's agents provocateurs, who were undoubtedly 

That day Azana was a symbol to the masses, their last hope for 
leadership in a disintegrating democracy. Pipe fitters and stone masons, 
and the seven men who had walked all the way from Asturias, had not 
come to bear witness to the intellectual prowess of Manuel Azana, 
maybe not even to assimilate his words, for Azana was never earthy; 
instead they had come to hear a program, a plan, and to rally round a 
leader. The speech that they heard, or maybe did not hear, was on the 
whole a sensible one, dedicated to the restoration of ethics in govern- 
ment, yet one which dealt more specifically with the past than with the 
future, and one replete with the usual democratic slogans. Azafia 
spoke on international policy, budget, education, social legislation, 
jurisprudence, agrarian reform, taxes, etc., but in nearly every case his 
message was: all we need to do is apply and follow the laws voted 
three years ago, make functional the institutions already created. He 
had no new schemes to offer, no original or drastic proposals to cement 
Right with Left. Still consistent in his role of torch-bearer of the ideal 
republic, he counseled a return to 193 L Perhaps it was an attempt to 
convince himself, by convincing others, that a return to 1931 was 
possible, for the ex-prisoner probably knew his glorious Republic was 
moribund. As in the case of Azana's two previous open-air perform- 
ances of 1935, the occasion was more impressive than the speech, 
which was perhaps neither so brilliant as some maintain nor so unin- 
spiring as others affirm. Let us, however, hear out Buckley (p. 184), 
who formed his impression as he sat midst the mass of humanity that 
Sunday morning: 

He talked to these workers and peasants about international relations, 
about gold reserves and monetary complications, and all in an unin- 
spiring, matter-of-fact voice. It would have been an excellent address 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana, 

for a Rotary Club luncheon. I think he was terrified of the crowd, 
afraid of what it might do if he warmed its passions. He was afraid 
that he was not big enough to dominate this crowd. And he was right. 
He had nothing to offer it. His life diet had been nineteenth-century 
Liberalism, According to this, one fostered civil liberties and then sat 
back to watch the nation flourish in bracing airs of freedom .... If 
Azafia had been a bigger man he might have set to work to form a 
party, to build up a machine which would work and which would 
have answered the heart-breaking plea of the people of Spain. But he 
was a cultured, intelligent product of his environment With his 
intelligence and ideas he could have attained the rank of statesman 
with no difficulty in either contemporary Britain or France. But it 
was not enough. He was not big enough to adjust himself. 

The underlying theme of Azana's speech that day was a per- 
sonal condemnation of Lerroux and his whole government of the last 
two years, the Black Biennium. The long-standing antagonism be- 
tween Azafia and Lerroux was well known, ever since the days when 
Azana was Prime Minister and had been provoked by Lerroux's per- 
sonal attacks in the Cortes. Then when their governmental positions 
were reversed, it was probably Lerroux who, despite his denials, was 
at the bottom of Azana's alleged implication in the Barcelona affair. 
More than anybody else, Lerroux was still the pebble in Azana's boot. 
Two such men could never agree: Lerroux, the pettifogging profes- 
sional politician, and Azafia, the punctilious intellectual who learned 
too late not to expect sportsmanship from his political adversaries. 
Azafia was now demanding that the Republic be liberated from bad 
enchanters like Lerroux, whose government had already fallen in May 
of 1935, but who at first succeeded himself and later occupied the post 
of Minister of State in the subsequent Joaquin Chapaprieta govern- 
ment. As a result of the financial scandal, in which Lerroux's nephew 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

was implicated, Lerroux resigned from the Ministry of State only ten 
days after Azana s Campo de Comillas speech. 

Here are some of the most significant points and quotations from 
the Campo de Comillas speech, along with some other observations: 
(1) ''Here we continue the campaign that the Republican Left party 
initiated, whose antecedents are known to you, and which culminates 
but does not terminate in this public function." By his leadership of 
Republican Left, Azana thus claims credit for the establishment of 
what developed into the Popular Front. He had, in fact, been urging 
a unification of Left and Center parties since October of 1933. (2) 
Deploring the menacing presence of the cavalry and the machine guns 
mounted on trucks at intersections ("as if we were going to go from 
here to storm the Ministries and seize the Government by violence"), 
Azana inteprets the hugeness of the gathering as an indication of 
electoral strength, and the reason more people have not come to make 
it one-half million is only that no more bodies could possibly fit into 
the area. (3) It is no longer a question of differing policy or politics. 
'The fact is that the Government, in all its branches, is functioning 
systematically and deliberately against republicans .... The fact 
is that in Spain, a country still camouflaged under republican colors, 
the name and condition of republican has come to be a pretext for 
prison, for exile, for beatings, for every kind of personal ruin . . . . " 
(4) Denouncing the government for its total ignorance of the inter- 
national situation, Azana maintains that international politics should 
not be a changing party matter, because international policy is deter- 
mined by invariable factors of geography, economics, and other con- 
stant realities. "The international policy of a country is inherited from 
regime to regime . . . . " Spain's international ends of peace and 
preservation of territorial integrity and independence are best achieved 
through the League of Nations, not only best achieved in this manner, 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana. 

but necessarily achieved so, because "Spain is a weak country, without 
the resources to convert itself into a great power." He knows the weak- 
ness of the League of Nations, but its failure would be a "universal 
misfortune," and for Spain to contribute to such a failure would be 
suicide. Yet Spain's position in Geneva is still a question mark, Azana 
insists; moreover, nobody has asked the Spanish people what that posi- 
tion should be. (5) The Cortes tends to abuse its power. Even he 
himself, in the Cortes, had to defend the prerogatives of the President 
of the Republic. The present Cortes, motivated only by destruction 
and vengeance, has "paralyzed, destroyed, and abandoned" the agrarian 
reform and has wasted money scandalously. (6) Azana promises to 
balance the budget. Intricate budgetary matters, beyond the inter- 
est or understanding of his huge audience, are the longest single 
topic of the speech. (7) Deviating from his old slogan, that the 
Republic is for all Spaniards, that there must be "humanity, tolerance, 
and understanding," Azana proceeds to make one of his very few 
contradictory and openly revolutionary remarks. He asserts that the 
Republic "must destroy absolutely the privileges of the moneyed classes 
who now subjugate the people." (8) "All Europe today is a battlefield 
between democracy and its enemies, and Spain is not an exception. 
You must choose between democracy, with all its shortcomings, with all 
its faults, with all its mistakes or errors, and tyranny with all its horrors. 
There is no choice. Ours is made. In Spain one hears frivolous and 
vain talk of dictatorship. We find it repugnant not only by doctrine, 
but by experience and through good sense .... Dictatorship is a 
consequence or political manifestation of intolerance; its propellant is 
fanaticism; and its means of action, physical violence. Dictatorship 
leads to war ... it stupifies peoples and drives them mad." 

Judged as oratory, Azana's concluding paragraph is masterful. After 
having invoked silence for meditation upon the martyrs of the Re- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

public, he works a verbal crescendo worthy, in musical terms, of a 
Rossini: "The silence of the people declares their grief and indignation; 
but the voice of the people can blast awesomely like the trumpets of 
Judgment. Let my words not glide over faint hearts, and may they 
pierce yours like darts of fire! People, for Spain and for the Republic, 
united!!" A frenzied ovation met these last words; the huge crowd was 
on its feet. Thousands upon thousands of clenched fists were raised, 
but Manuel Azana did not return the salute. 3 This was an unforeseen 
critical moment of truth. The proud intellectual could not bend to 
popular revolutionary symbolism. This moment told more of Azana 
than any of his words that day; it showed the paternal had not been 
converted into the fraternal, that in his innermost heart he was not a 
revolutionary. Azana craved a Popular Front victory, but at the same 
time the thought of such a victory must have terrified him. 

On February 16, 1936, Spaniards went to the polls. Azana's own 
Republican Left party won 82 seats in the Cortes; the Socialists won 
89; the Communists exactly 14. In larger terms, the Popular Front 
total was 258 deputies; the Center parties won 62; the parties of the 
Right had 152. The electoral system, however, did not reflect the 
closeness of the total popular vote. The actual number of votes polled 
gave only a narrow victory to the Popular Front, which had looked 
upon the election with more hope than confidence. But there is no 
doubt that the Right lost, despite its control of the election machinery 

3 The Popular Front salute, clenched fist symbolic of unity and strength, is said to have 
been invented by a German Social Democrat named Edgar Andre, who was executed by 
the Nazis in 1936. It may have been seen earlier in Spain, but the first report of its use 
dates from September, 1935 (see Buckley, op. dt., p. 179), During the Civil War, this 
salute became a widely accepted form of greeting among the many Republican components. 
For additional reference to Edgar Andre, whose name is missing from most of the standard 
encyclopedias, see Gustav Regler's novel The Great Crusade (New York and Toronto, 
1940), p. 53, and Andre Makaux's novel Man's Hope (New York, 1938), p. 331. One of 
the early battalions of the International Brigades was named the Edgar AndrS Battalion; 
it fought in the November-December, 1936, battles at Madrid. 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana. 

and its confidence in victory. Although the Socialists had won more 
seats than Republican Left, a close alignment of the Catalonian 
Esquerra party with Republican Left put Azafia at the head of 103 
deputies and gave him control of the largest bloc among the Left 

At the very moment that Manuel Azafia had reached the zenith of 
his power and popularity, the new situation already began to deteri- 
orate. As soon as it was obvious that the Popular Front was to control 
the government, two simultaneous movements commenced; the de- 
feated Right started its surreptitious and now earnest move toward 
ultimate military rebellion, while the Left renewed its internecine 
struggle for power (the several kinds of Socialists were especially intol- 
erant of one another). Azafia became Prime Minister again and 
formed his government on February 19, immediately after the resigna- 
tion of the government of Manuel Portela on the same day. All of 
Azana's new Cabinet were democrats and moderates. It did not include 
any Socialists or Communists; far from being communistic or an- 
archical, it was perhaps too much on the conservative side. The next 
day, February 20, Azana made a national radio broadcast to appeal 
for unity and moderation. This was to no avail. Despite Azana's per- 
sonal pleas to Largo Caballero for restraint, that extremist among 
Socialists renewed his revolutionary propaganda with speeches designed 
to incite the workers. The en masse amnesty of political prisoners 
brought a new wave of strikes, church burnings, agrarian unrest, 
assassinations, and every kind of revolutionary violence worse than 
ever before. 

In the Cortes itself, decomposition began with a stormy session on 
April 4. Azafia presented himself at this first meeting of the new Cortes 
and gave a speech intended both to reconcile the warring factions and 
to give assurance to the Right wing that he planned no reform meas- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

ures beyond those stated in the election program of the Popular Front 
The only thing he insisted upon was, as always, enforcement of the 
Constitution, especially such Articles as the one on agrarian reform 
which had fallen into desuetude during the last two years. It was a 
good speech, as everyone had come to expect of Azana, but it quieted 
tempers only briefly. The core of the problem was how to control the 
extremists of both opposing bands if the government carried out its 
promise to enforce a Constitution that had become too harsh for the 
Right and too mild for the Left. 

What had happened to the Popular Front? Why had the atmosphere 
become electrically revolutionary? Franco backers have always claimed 
that the Spanish Popular Front was a smoke screen for the Com- 
munists, an unholy alliance plotted by Moscow. Azana himself re- 
jected this assertion as false when he told the correspondent Lawrence 
Fernsworth of his firm stand against any pacting with the official Com- 
munist party, small as it was, with strings tied to the Kremlin. 4 Surely 
Moscow looked on the Popular Front favorably, and a handful of 
Communists had indeed been elected to the Cortes, but communism 
did not achieve party strength in Spain until after the Civil War had 
begun. In the early days of the war, the Communists mobilized them- 
selves more quickly and efficiently than any other Loyalist group; and, 
with visible military aid arriving from Russia, they attracted partisans 
out of practical, rather than purely ideological, considerations. 

The old revolutionary Leon Trotsky had a theory which discounted 
the long-range workability of any Popular Front. In a simply stated 
but keenly incisive article of December 17, 1937, 5 he showed how the 
interests of the proletariat and bourgeoisie, even though they might 

* Lawrence Fernsworth, Spain's Struggle for Freedom (Boston, 1957), p. 177. 
5 Reference is to the latest revised translation, which appeared in pamphlet form in 
August, 1956 (Colombo, Ceylon) under the tide The Lessons of Spainthe Last Warning. 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana 

be the same in solving certain practical problems in common, are so 
different in political coalition because their ends are so different. 
Spanish bourgeois elements were split, politically, between Left and 
Right. The bourgeois can be a Popular Fronter so long as private 
ownership and means of production are not threatened; that is, to the 
extent that the revolution be a democratic one, as Azafia wished. 
Basically a democratic bourgeois and, as Trotsky dubbed him, a "knight 
of right and freedom," Azana now found himself in the forefront of a 
largely proletarian movement, whose undemocratic impulse was becom- 
ing no less difficult for him to check than the one from the Right. 
When Azana could in good conscience move no farther Left, when 
the undemocratic constrictions were becoming most painful, a means 
of graceful exit presented itself the neutral office of Presidency of the 

As President of the Republic, Niceto Alcala Zamora had the pre- 
rogative to dissolve the Cortes not more than twice during his Presi- 
dential tenure. With the elections of February, he had exercised this 
right for the second time. According to the Constitution, the new 
Cortes could vote an impeachment of the President of the Republic if 
in its collective opinion his second call for elections had not been clearly 
necessary. This is precisely what the new Cortes did, unheedful that 
the new majority in the Cortes did reflect a change in national opinion 
and the consequent fact of rightful dissolution of the previous Cortes. 
The instigator of the movement for deposition was Indalecio Prieto, a 
moderate Socialist and close friend of Azana. He could have presented 
to Azana a number of compelling arguments why the latter should 
allow himself to be elected President. Some of these reasons might 
have been that (1) with Prieto as Prime Minister and Azana as Presi- 
dent, the two of them would be able to see eye to eye and work together 
better than the outgoing President had done with any Prime Minister 


The Tragedy of Manue! Azafia 

in die past, and maybe in this way (both were solid democrats) the 
Republic might be salvaged; (2) the Republic needed the stability of a 
President who, by dint of his personality, could control the state and 
would thus remain the full six years of his term; (3) unlike Alcala 
Zamora, who was a zealous Catholic, Azana held no reservations about 
any Article of the Constitution, which had proclaimed a lay republic; 
and (4) even though the assumption of the Presidency would neutral- 
ize Azana politically, if he did not take the post himself it could go 
conceivably to one of the extremists. 

The infusion of the Presidency with a vigorous personality was a 
more realistic motive for a change in President than the argument 
which said that the change might bring durability to the office, because 
the simple act of replacement under conditions of questionable justi- 
fication rendered the office unstable, regardless of who replaced whom. 
Recall that one of the reasons for the failure of the ephemeral First 
Republic of 1873-74 was its string of four Presidents in a short space 
of time. Admittedly, however, a strong and uncompromising per- 
sonality was needed to bring dignity to the Presidency of the Second 
Republic and infuse the office with some extra measure of authority, 
justly exercised, within its rather narrow confines established by the 

Taught by experience, and hypersensitive to the endowment of 
any given individual with powers conducive to dictatorial authority, 
the framers of the Constitution had perhaps limited too sharply the 
areas of executive jurisdiction of its President. The very fact that 
the President of the Republic was not elected by direct plebiscite 
precluded his claim to any popular assignation. Although the ma- 
chinery was somewhat complex, in effect the Cortes elected the 
President. Inasmuch as he owed his office to the authority of the 
Cortes, he could be reminded of his obligation and even inferiority 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana. 

to that body, the deposition of Alcala Zamora being a case in point. 
Yet it was reasoned that a republic needed a President, at least for 
ceremonial functions ("to personify the nation," as the Constitution 
read), even if the authors of the Constitution had decided that their 
republic did not need a senate. The powers conferred upon the Presi- 
dent by the Constitution were mostly small ones, with the exception 
of his right to name governments and to dissolve the Cortes for 
re-election; in fact, the Constitution was equally specific in its delinea- 
tion of his limitations as it was in the representation of his authority. 
One Article and one section, however, 76 d, armed the President with 
a convenient latitude of action in any situation of emergency by 
empowering him "to order the urgent measures which the defense 
of the integrity or the security of the nation demands, rendering 
immediate account to the Cortes/' Here was where a strong President 
could make his authority felt, if he could count on the obedience of 
his legally constituted subordinates. But the question of legal effec- 
tiveness was the perpetually uncertain factor in the Republic. 

On April 7, 1936, Azana saw Alcala Zamora deposed by the Cortes. 
Despite his dislike of the cunning Alcala Zamora (the antipathy was 
mutual, although until 1936 their relationship had been at least 
formally cordial), Azana may have intuited that it was both unwise 
and unjust to remove him. Whether out of pity, modesty, decorum, 
or lack of conviction, the Prime Minister took no active part in the 
movement against his President, yet he said nothing in the man's 
defense while Prieto's steam roller did its work. Diego Martinez 
Barrio became the President pro tern. One week later Martinez Barrio 
and the still Prime Minister Azana reviewed together the parade 
celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Republic, a parade not without 
incidents interpreted by some as another abortive plot to assassinate 
Azaiia. The campaign of defamation of Azana had recommenced as 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

soon as bis name was proposed for the permanent Presidency, This 
time he acquired a new caricature in the press. Because the author 
of La corona was being catapulted to a position where he would 
personify the state, Claridad (organ of the Socialist wing headed by 
Largo Caballero) began to publish pictorial sketches of Azafia wearing 
a crown. 

Quite apart from the impressive emolument, the perquisites of the 
Presidency were not unattractive to a cultured and cultivated gentle- 
man like Azana, who, at first, nobody thought would accept the Presi- 
dency. His personal popularity with the people may have convinced 
him that he could do more good from the Presidency, that he could 
effectively strengthen the office and thus the Republic as well; but 
anyone who has studied the personality of this man knows there are 
more private, yet equally compelling, reasons for him to have accepted 
the honor. Proud and somewhat vain as he was, ageing and maybe 
tiring, Azana could take secret pleasure in the prospect of Spain's 
highest office. Here he could be both comfortable and grand, maybe 
have some leisure to read and write, and take a certain pleasure in the 
pomp and ceremony inherent to the office. He would miss the party 
politics, yes, but then he always denied being a professional politician; 
and here was a chance to retire honorably from active combat in order 
to become the peacemaker. 

Whatever his motive Azana accepted the Presidency. The formal 
and rather complicated balloting took place on May 10, 1936. Of the 
911 electoral votes, Azana received 754; all but five of the rest were 
blank ballots. From that day until virtually the end of the Civil War, 
Manuel Azana was the President of the Second Spanish Republic. 
Spain gained a man worthy of her highest Republican office; at the 
same time she not only lost the best possible Prime Minister, even 
under the worsening circumstances, but found herself with a notably 


The Republic, 1935-1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana. 

inept one in his place. Although Azana had wanted Indalecio Prieto 
to be Prime Minister and had offered him the post, the vagaries of 
politics (specifically the opposition of Largo Caballero) conferred the 
office upon Santiago Casares Quiroga, who, though he too was a friend 
of Azana, was not the man for the times. 

Shortly after his election, Azana established a temporary residence 
in the Casa del Principe in the hunting park of El Pardo, since the 
President's rooms in the National Palace were undergoing repairs. 
One of his first official functions was the formal reception of foreign 
diplomats at the National Palace. The U.S. ambassador to Spain at 
the time, Claude G. Bowers, attended this function. In his book 
My Mission to Spain* (page 230), Bowers described the event, and 
an affront by the Italian ambassador: 

There was more form and smartness than had been seen since the 
fall of the monarchy, and some of my colleagues, who had been 
scornful of the ultrasimplicity of Alcala Zamora, were equally resent- 
ful of Azana's departure from it. Officers in brilliant uniforms lined 
the stairway. We went through the old guard room into a magnificent 
apartment, and thence on through the porcelain room where Washing- 
ton Irving presented his credentials to the child Queen Isabella, 
in the presence of her nurse, to the room where we were to be 
received. In an adjoining room a military band played the national 
anthem, and Azana appeared, followed by his ministers and the 
Military Household, headed by General Masquelet These grouped 
themselves behind the President. Azana was pale, as usual. The 
doyen read an address, Azana replied, and then passed down the line 
shaking hands with the heads of missions, smiling graciously. Thus 
did he approach the Italian ambassador. 

In execrable taste, in contemptuous disregard of the proprieties, 
and with true Fascist impudence, the Ambassador of Mussolini, at that 

8 Copyright 1954 by Simon and Schuster, Inc. Used by permission of die publisher. 


The Tragedy of Manuef Azana 

very hour deep in the conspiracy soon to flare in the military and 
Fascist rebellion, appeared in a spirit of insult in a black shirt and in 
boots. And when Azana approached, ready with an outstretched hand, 
the Italian Fascist drew back and gave the Fascist salute. It was the 
sort of insult that had been rebuked at the King's levee at the Court 
of St. James. Azana disregarded the deliberate insult and passed on, 

[n June, Bowers saw Azana again and wrote (page 234) : 

In early June I gave my annual presidential dinner for Azana. A 
few days before, a witty countess, who hated the Republic, knowing 
my daughter Patricia would be the hostess in the absence of her 
mother, undertook to advise her how to "please the President." She 
was to say, "How charming Spain was ten years ago" which was in 
the days of the Dictator. 

That night, Azana drove in from the Pardo hunting lodge in high 
good humor, discussing plans to extend the beautiful gardens of the 
lodge and to establish the summer capital in Santanden Patricia 
found him an easy table companion and quite as charming as Spain 
had been "ten years ago"; and after dinner he was interested in the 
panels in the Goya room and in Zuloaga's portrait of the Duchess of 
Arion. He spent the evening in the ballroom talking entertainingly. 
Serlora Azana, a small woman with a very attractive face, with expres- 
sive blue eyes, and a soft, pleasant voice, was much younger than 
her husband. Her brother, Rivas Cherif, the dramatist and writer, 
had been Azana's dose friend from their early youth in the monks' 
school in the Escorial. [This is in error; Rivas Cherif and Azana did 
not meet until 1914, when Azana was thirty-four years old.] 

There was nothing that night to indicate that in five weeks Spain 
would be engaged in a sanguinary war with guests of the evening 
on both sides of the barricade. 

Portrait of Azana with Presidential sash, by Jose Maria Lopez Mezquita, now in the 
possession of the Hispanic Society of America, New York City. Courtesy of the Hispanic 
Society of America. 


The Republic, 1935*1936. The Road Back. Apotheosis of Azana, 

Five weeks passed. The army was still restless, as it had been ever 
since the man whom most of the officers considered to be their enemy, 
the man they condemned for the 1931-33 military reforms, had 
returned to power and was President. And in the Cortes, on June 16, 
1936, the Right-wing leader Jose Maria Gil Robles made a speech "in 
which he indicted the government for its leniency with regard to the 
prevailing violence and crime: 160 churches totally destroyed and 251 
set on fire or otherwise attacked; 269 persons murdered and 1,287 
injured; 69 political premises destroyed; 113 general strikes and 228 
partial strikes, as well as many cases of other forms of violence" 
(Madariaga, Spain: A Modern History, p. 459). 7 The Monarchist 
deputy Jose Calvo Sotelo spoke next, also with vehemence. Before 
dawn on July 13 Calvo Sotelo was led from his house, murdered, and 
deposited in a cemetery all of this the work of Assault Guards in 
reprisal for the assassination of one of their lieutenants the previous 
day. Historians like to say that this event triggered the rebellion, but 
the rebellion had already been planned and would have come in any 
case. Although the dead lieutenant Castillo's whole company of 
Assault Guards was imprisoned, it was too late for evasive action. 
What each side wanted now was blood. 

7 It is ironical that the same Gil Robles was exiled by Franco on June 10, 1962, for 
participating in a conference of the European Movement Congress (for the evolution of 
a federated United States of Europe) a few days earlier in Munich. No Communists or 
Fascists are invited to the meetings of this worthy organization; all the participants are 
democrats of one kind or another. Before Gil Robles went to Munich, he had sent to 
Franco and to the Minister of the Interior a draft of certain resolutions to be proposed at 
the meetings, one of whose purposes was to examine basic conditions for Spain's eventual 
inclusion in the European Common Market. The thirty-eight delegates of the exiles met 
separately with Salvador de Madariaga while Gil Robles chaired the eighty-man delegation 
from Spain. The two groups met later in plenary session and showed a unanimity and 
solidarity which Madariaga describes as the real termination of the Spanish Civil War. 
When Gil Robles and the principal Spanish delegates returned to Madrid, their airplanes 
were met by Franco police who gave them the choice of exile abroad or deportation to 
the Canary Island of Fuerteventura (like Unamuno). Gil Robles chose exile. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

On the eve of the insurrection, which originated in Spanish 
Morocco on July 17, a handful of moderate laborites and intellectuals 
seemed to be the only non-belligerent republicans left in Spain. Azafia 
had found the total situation to be as uncontrollable from the Presi- 
dency as it had been from the Premiership. Nonetheless he remained 
bound to the apparently unenforceable Constitution. Unable to impose 
order by legal measures, unwilling to enforce it by extra-legal ones, 
despondent of his inability to radiate stability from the Presidency, 
thwarted at every turn, Azana appeared to have succumbed to circum- 
stances and to the pre-Civil War comforts of the Presidency. Almost 
without exception both the Republican and Francoist chroniclers of 
the period assert that Manuel Azana built himself a shell and with- 
drew into it, snail-like, shortly after the Spanish Civil War had become 
irremediably launched. This was not wholly true. No one was more 
sensitive to the tragedy than he, and no one worked harder behind 
the scenes to achieve a truce than he, for in his estimation no victor 
could emerge from such a war. 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR has engendered thousands of books and 
pamphlets in many languages, but not one detailed military and 
political history that can yet be called definitive. 1 Mostly impassioned 
books of undocumented accusation, they are still being written today, 
one as contradictory of the other as they were several decades ago. If 
it is hard to reconstruct the day-by-day battle scene, the over-all picture 
of those three years is even more elusive. Many of the larger truths 
of the war spring from the paradoxical Spanish character, and this 
Spanish character is as enigmatic to the other Romance peoples as 
it is to the German and English-speaking peoples. Much is explained, 
however, by the varying regional nature of the war and the hetero- 
geneous composition of each side. 

Civil wars tend to pit political extremes one against the other, with 
the result that great masses of nonpolitical individuals are caught in 

1 A personal opinion is that Madariaga's Spain (1958 revision) comes closest along with 
Hugh Thomas' Tie Spanish Civil War (1961), which was a surprising best-seller in the 
U.S.A. for months. See the Bibliography for commentary on the Thomas history. Several 
detailed and rather complete military histories with ahundant battle-maps and fflustrative 
material have been published in Spain, but they are unobjective, inaccurate, and lack 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

the middle and forced to go along with one band of extremists or the 
other. After the Spanish Civil War had begun, nonpolitical Spaniards 
learned very quickly that neutrality was no less dangerous than self- 
commitment. Unlike the U.S. Civil War, which found opinion 
divided largely between two geographical regions, with very few 
exceptions all Spanish regions harbored all opinions in varying degrees 
of strength; and, except in the case of the predominantly Leftish 
industrial centers, the delineations of Republican and Rebel Spain were 
the result first of spontaneous group initiative and, only later, of 
successful military operations. The initial war map was not two semi- 
circles, but a polka-dot moon. 

This was an unusual war, for the Spanish are an unusual people. 
Azana himself noted in La velada en Eenicarlo and elsewhere the 
Spanish tendency to destruction, born of the same mass unruliness 
which precipitated the military rebellion of 1936. At bottom it is 
the Spaniard's egoism, euphemistically termed his "individualism," 
which is responsible for the inconsistency of performance in most 
aspects of Spanish life (including the arts), and which seems to rebel 
against the co-operative standards in civil affairs so characteristic of 
the British and American examples of a free society. Anarchism has 
flourished in Hispanic societies because the Spaniard tends to reject 
authority exterior to his own. On April 21, 1934, in one of his best 
speeches ("Grandezas y miserias de la politica"), Azana had pointed 
out that "the greatest ill of Spain is its need of moral vigor," that in 
Spain what is most notably evident is not a lack of intelligence or 
education, but "the moral weakness of public spirit." More than any- 
thing else, Azana had wanted to create a Spain of responsible citizens, 
to instill the concept of loyal opposition. Whether or not the rebellion 
was justified, the outbreak of the war proved the failure of his mission, 
He neither prevented the uprising nor could he stifle it. If the 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Republic did ultimately win, the credit would not be bis. Therefore, 
regardless of which side won, or whether the two extremes succeeded 
in mutual extermination, Azana was a finished man in Spanish public 

Although Azafia underestimated the strength and scope of the 
Spanish Fascist movement, he always knew that the military and 
civilian Right wing might rebel, even if he would never admit this 
in public. He preferred to dispel fear by denying the possibility of a 
revolt. We have seen how he repeatedly gave public assurance of 
Republican strength as he continued on the path of strict legality. As 
early as July 5, 1933, Ossorio y Gallardo had asked on the floor of the 
Cortes: "What if the majority should win even though it be inimical 
to the Republic?" In a speech of reply to the same Cortes the next 
day, Azana discounted such a possibility while at the same time he 
admitted its legality. But Azana then went on to chide the deputies 
who had been "overly worried, for some months now, by those phan- 
toms of fascism, dictatorship, Caesar-ism, and imposition of minority 
opinion . . . . " "It is high time," he continued, "for Sr. Ossorio y 
Gallardo to calm down and be convinced that Spanish liberal feeling 
and Spanish democratic institutions are sufficiently rooted in legality 
and in the hearts of Republicans so that none of those dangers is to 
be feared." He was wrong, yes, but his words of assurance were for 
public consumption. In the February 17, 1933, entry of his memoirs, 
Azana had written: "The only thing that breathes fear in me is what 
can happen to the army the day that I depart from this house. They 
will return to their old ways, one group and another, politicians and 
generals, and goodbye Republic." In the summer of 1934, the journalist 
Lawrence Fernsworth (then correspondent for the Time$ of London) 
had an interview with Azana. Femsworth posed this question: 'What 
would happen if the Rightists managed to entrench themselves firmly 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

and went ahead with their announced intentions?" Azafla's reply was: 
'There will he a civil war and that would be most grave." Two years 
later, when the war did come, on July 18, 1936 (July 17 in Morocco), 
from the start Azana lacked conviction in a Republican victory, a fact 
readily attested by his private secretary 2 and other intimates, and a 
fact that Azana himself did not deny when he was interviewed by 
Fernsworth again in 1939 at the end of the war. 

Yet the events of July 18, 1936, should not have been a great 
surprise. Weeks before that day, the Madrid press and other news- 
papers echoed rumors of a plot against the Republic. There were 
stories about the subversive activities of General Emilio Mola, who 
was the military commander in Navarra. Pamplona (Molas head- 
quarters), the rest of Navarra, and also parts of Castile had been 
secretly stockpiling arms, by contraband trade over the Pyrenees, 
months before the date of the declared rebellion. Fortunately for the 
Right, it had been arming itself throughout Spain better than had 
the revolutionaries. From Portugal, ex-General Sanjurjo not only 
played a principal role in the plot but was its leader-designate: he and 
Mola, both of whom were soon to die in airplane crashes, were the 
real masterminds behind the rebellion. The island commands of two 
other distrusted generals, Francisco Franco in the Canary Islands and 
Manuel Coded in Majorca, had supposedly relegated this pair to the 
sidelines, but in effect merely allowed them to conspire removed from 
the eyes of the government. Four months before the rebellion, on 
or about March 22, 1936, Azana received Colonel Jesus Perez Salas, 
a thoroughly upright and nonpolitical officer, who wanted to discuss 

2 Juan Jose Domendiina (1898-1960) was Azana's official private secretary from Octo- 
ber, 1931, to February, 1935, and from January, 1938, until the end of February, 1939. 
A man of letters in Ms own right, primarily a poet, Domencbina bad been a contributor 
to AzanVs review La gluma, and also to E$$ana He continued to publish books of poetry 
in exile in Spanish America. 

The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

the possibility and danger of a military uprising. At that time, Azafia 
told the Colonel that measures were not being taken against the officers 
for the very reason that such action would certainly ignite a still- 
uncertain revolt. Even as early as April, 1936, the "mad colonel" 
Julio Mangada (see page 90), later to fight on the Republican side, 
published a documented pamphlet which publicly exposed the Gen- 
erals' plot, all to no avail. Another public warning was sounded by 
Indalecio Prieto, who was to serve as the wartime Republic's Minister 
of Defense from May, 1937, to April, 1938. Prieto's words of insight, 
buried in a speech at the Teatro Cervantes in Cuenca, May I, 1936, 
were so teen that they ought to be recorded here. After he had 
commented upon the widespread spirit of military rebellion against the 
Republican regime, he stated: "General Franco, because of his youth, 
because of his talents, because of his network of friendships in the 
army, is the man who, at the proper moment, can lead ... a move- 
ment of this kind/' 

The string of Prime Ministers appointed by Azana during the 
spring and summer of 1936 represented an attempt, first, to avoid and 
then, after July 18, to extinguish the rebellion by conciliation. Appar- 
ently nothing could be done. The armies were marching; the people 
were in the streets demanding arms. No one would listen to reason, 
that no party or ideology was worth a civil war. Though some think 
the Rebels might have been willing at first to work out an agreement 
with the Republican government, because the insurgent generals 
delayed nearly a week in forming a government of their own, once 
the unions and other political and worker groups had taken matters 
into their own hands and formed their own militias, seemingly re- 
sponsible to no one, and sometimes fighting one another, the Republi- 
can government was powerless to offer the insurgents any meaningful 
compromise, even though it tried. The people's reaction to the mili- 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

tary uprising was not merely one of self-defense; die rebellion tad 
bred revolution. Though there were no revolutionaries in the Republi- 
can government at the start of die Generals' revolt, the workers' 
immediate and violent opposition to the rebellion through their semi- 
armed political and syndical organizations proved that the lower classes 
were perhaps closer to a proletarian revolution than either Azafia or 
Franco had suspected. In one sense, however, despite slogans like the 
one adopted by the CNT-FAI, 3 "War and Revolution," the Civil 
War tended to control die same revolution which it had ignited, 
because the common self-defense against aggression united people of 
very different political ideologies to postpone social reform until after 
the essential task of winning the war. Still, it was a question of 
fascism on the one hand and a proletarian revolution on the other. 
This dilemma marked the beginning of Azana's captivity. He had 
wanted to resign at the very beginning, and almost did resign after 
the massacre of political prisoners in the Carcel Modelo (Model 
Prison) of Madrid in August of 1936. On this occasion it was Angel 
Ossorio who dissuaded him from renouncing the Presidency. On other 
critical occasions both during and after the summer of 1936, on the 
one hand it was Indalecio Prieto and the sincere moderates who 
importuned Azafia to consider himself and his office as the necessary 
personification of the Republic abroad, while on die other hand it was 
those who received from Moscow their orders that the fagade of a 
democratic Spain had to be maintained. Knowingly or unknowingly, 
Azafia dius became the essential tool of both factions. Brave with the 

S CNT: Confederation National del Traba^o (National Federation of Labor); FAI: 
Federation de Anwquistas Ibericos (Iberian Anarchist Federation). 

Battle fronts of the Spanish Civil War. By mid-February, 1939, all of Catalonia was 
lost to the Republic, though the Central Zone remained more or less stationary until the 
end of the war in the final days of March, 1939. 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

pen, a paper expert in military matters, a classic type of constitu- 
tionalist, that sensitive and fastidious intellectual never wanted any 
role in an actual war, particularly in a Civil War whose outcome could 
portend but little Lope for his aspirations of a democracy in Spain. 
Yet he remained at his post. 

It would be alien to the purpose of this work to attempt a detailed 
military or political history of the war and its international ramifica- 
tions. It is essential to grasp the general character of the war, how- 
ever, if one is to understand Azana's conduct during those three years 
of captivity and heartbreak, and most particularly if one is to have a 
basis for interpretation of what may well be Azana's best literary 
work, his only passionate book, uncramped by erudition La velada en 

The first months of the war were the best and the worst. They 
were the months of the people who, armed mainly with knives, 
common tools, and pieces of furniture, stormed the Montana Barracks 
(whose rubble can still be seen in Madrid today) and fought in the 
streets of Barcelona with a ferocity that the Bastille and the French 
Revolution never knew. Someone has described the early situation 
in Madrid as "electrically equalitarian." People of every social and 
economic class were going and coming, seeking arms, converting 
trucks into homemade tanks, and organizing themselves into militias, 
mainly on the basis of trade union or political party. Workers* organi- 
zations took charge of most public utilities, like the Telephone Building 
in Barcelona that in May, 1937, became a source of partisan rivalry 
and led to a brief civil war within the Civil War. Even the politically 
unaffiliated men and women formed night-watch patrols in the streets 
and parks and on the bridges. In these early days, the Republican 
government had little power to organize anything, because it had no 
army. Political ideology aside, one must admit that the defense of 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Madrid by the people of Madrid was one of the greatest spontaneous 
acts of "the people" in recorded European history, Lawlessness and 
indiscipline, however, saw thousands of innocent people and non- 
Falangists murdered at the moment of their capture or sentenced to 
be shot by the self-appointed tribunals of the militias. As bad as this 
may seem, the homicidal tendency may have been even worse on the 
other side, where the unjustified killings often occurred under official 
sanction, rather than in contravention of government orders. (Almost 
every Center-party or Left-wing Republican deputy who happened to 
be in territory seized initially by the Rebels, was executed.) To no 
avail did Azana make an appeal, on July 22, that the indiscriminate 
executions cease. Even by the end of August, when it was apparent 
that an unsuccessful coup d'etat had created a full-scale civil war, 
most elements of the Loyalist defense were still at cross purposes 
through lack of organization and co-operation. This confused state 
of affairs was to continue throughout the war and to contribute, as 
significantly as the quantity of Rebel materiel, to the ultimate Loyalist 

With communication to Madrid severed, at first each town was 
autonomous and everyone seemed to want to make war on his own 
initiative and for the benefit of his own group. Some of the events 
were preposterous examples of warfare, pathetically humorous. Any 
one of the militias in Madrid would send a truck to the grenade factory 
in Toledo (noted for its duds) to get grenades for its own men, but 
not for any other militia or for the government's arms depot. The 
unions and parties would buy war supplies in France and elsewhere 
by sending their own delegates in their own name, and not in the 
name of the Republican government. The Anarchists, mistrustful of 
the Communists, hoarded supplies everywhere they could; in fact, 
most of the parties maintained their own arsenals behind the lines 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

while arms were desperately scarce at the front. In Catalonia, the 
CNT appointed itself to be the border guard and did not even 
recognize the passports issued by the Catalonian government. In the 
early stages of the war, the Madrid militiaman took the subway to the 
front and returned home when he had had enough fighting. The 
story is told that in the fierce, but fluid, fighting at the University of 
Madrid campus, it happened sometimes that opposing units occupied 
different floors of the same building; and there in the Clinical Hospital 
some Loyalists sent up a cargo of grenades, with pins pulled, in the 
elevator to a floor occupied by the enemy. Bombs were very scarce 
up in the Basque country and a small private airplane, which had 
been used for sightseeing prior to the war, dropped a cargo of stones 
on an enemy town. The Rebels besieged in the fortress of the Alcazar 
in Toledo were permitted to telephone their families in the city, thanks 
to the Loyalists, who controlled the telephone exchange. (Apropos 
of the Alcazar, Andre Malraux inserted this anecdote into his novel 
Mans Hope: Major Rojo went into die Alcazar for a parley with 
Moscardo, the commanding officer. The ceiling had been blown out 
of the office, but "on the back, which was undamaged, just above 
Moscardo's head, hung would you believe it? Azana s portrait; they'd 
forgotten to take it down.") Fraternization across the trenches was 
common in some sectors, while in the cities no man's life was secure, 
especially if he lacked a trade-union card or party affiliation. To add 
to the terrorism in the big cities, the jails had been opened and looting 
was rife. 

Only in Bilbao, with the exception of one tragic massacre of prisoners 
by enraged UGT 4 forces after an air raid, was the local government 
able to control the homicidal pandemonium from the start and to 
organize that city of 400,000 into an orderly co-operative effort. The 

UGT: Um6n General de Trabajadores (General Workers' Union). 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Basques are by tradition a democratic and well-disciplined people. 
They are also die most devoutly Catholic people in Spain, yet they 
fought against Franco and his banner of Catholicism. Basque support 
of the Republican government, however, was not so paradoxical as it 
might seem: the fact was that the Basques were attacked. Further- 
more, the Fascist unitary philosophy of government was dedicated to 
eradicating the autonomous regional rights that the Basques were 
expecting to be granted, according to the example of Catalonia. Basque 
loyalty was finally rewarded with the Statute of Basque Autonomy, 
voted in early October, 1936, by the national Cortes transplanted to 
Valencia. Two days after the action by the Cortes, a vote of the 
mayors of the three Basque provinces elected Jose Antonio de Aguirre 
as President of the newly autonomous Basque country. The Basque 
summer-resort city of San Sebastian had already fallen (September 13, 
1936) after a weak defense, but Bilbao built its cinturon of trenches 
and continued to give a good account of itself until the following 
summer. Perhaps the Basque government was determined to avoid a 
repetition of the events at the Basque border town of Inin, where the 
Anarchists had indiscriminately burned and destroyed everything in 
the city before they relinquished it to the Rebels on September 5, 1936. 
Over in Barcelona the Catalonians proceeded to create their own 
Catalan army (as of December 7, 1936), independent of other Re- 
publican forcesand actually feared by the Valencia-based Republican 
government, which kept the Thirteenth International Brigade on hand 
in Valencia as protection against any possible movement from Cata- 
lonia. One seldom-considered fact of the early aspects of the war was 
that certain areas and certain units suffered from what the extremists 
described as the political discrimination of the central government in 
the allotment of airplanes and materiel. All weapons were very scarce, 
even for the central government, but maybe not so impossibly critical 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

of supply as has been generally propagandized. If this is true, it 
explains partially the government's unwillingness to take the initiative 
during the first year of war, its feeble efforts at sea (Republican ships 
were manned largely by sailors who had murdered their officers) and 
on land, especially on the Aragon front, where the trade-unionist 
stronghold of Zaragoza might have been taken simultaneously from 
within and without. Because of the excesses of the uncontrollables, 
the government may have been reluctant to arm the militias other than 
for defensive and holding actions, as in the case of Madrid. Well- 
armed and all-conquering Anarchists, for example, might have been 
difficult to disarm upon the final formation of a new and more 
bourgeois state army. The Catalonians, who on their part owed so 
much to Madrid for their early Statute of home rule, did little to help 
Madrid in her crisis. It was not wholly attributable to a shortage of 
weapons that the halfhearted Catalonian "offensive*' in Aragon fell 
short of Huesca, whose capture would have opened the way to Zara- 
goza; and the unsuccessful Catalonian expedition to Majorca was no 
more than a wild adventure. Until the concerted effort of November, 
1936, in Madrid, the Loyalist defenders were too disorganized to 
block the continued Rebel advance in any sector. When the forces 
of Franco took Badajoz (August 14, 1936), near Portugal, he was 
able to link the Rebel armies of the south with those of the north 
very early in the war; and the likewise early capture of Iran several 
weeks later cut off the western French border to the Republic. 

In Madrid itself, popular enthusiasm alone could not win the battle 
for the defense of the city. With the approach of autumn, things were 
not going well for the madrilenos, and the government prepared to 
leave the city. Manuel Azaiia departed from the National Palace (to 
which he had moved from the Casa del Principe at the very start of 
the war) on October 19, 1936, under circumstances announced by the 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

press as a tour of the eastern and Catalonian fronts. Much has been 
written of his failure to visit the fronts and of his "cowardice" in 
leaving Madrid, although few Republicans at that time thought Madrid 
could hold out. Everything seemed to be disintegrating, and the rest 
of the government followed Azafia within three weeks. Little was 
left of the original diplomatic corps; many founders of the Republic 
and intellectuals like Maraiion, Perez de Ayala, Ortega y Gasset, and 
Madariaga either had left Spain already or were soon to make their 
exit; and though the local military organization was soon to show some 
improvement, Azaiia was still unable to control the government with 
the authority inherent in his Presidential office. 

On leaving Madrid, Azafia went to Barcelona. His enemies say 
he chose Barcelona so that he could be close to the French border in 
case of a Republican military collapse; his friends say he went to 
reside there in order, by his presence, to help keep Catalonia in tow. 
At first he was the guest of Companys in the Casa de Canonigos. 
Then he took up residence in the Catalonian Parliament building, 
where he was domiciled until after the short-lived Barcelona rebellion 
of May, 1937, during which the Parliament building was besieged and 
Azaiia rightly feared for his life. Shortly after the May riots Azafia 
moved to the Capitania General in Valencia, where he resided until 
February of 1938. Then he and the Presidential household moved 
back to Barcelona, having followed the shift of the government from 
Valencia. This time Azaiia did not live in the city of Barcelona, but 
on a farm near Tarrasa, about forty kilometers northwest of Barcelona. 

On the farm, named La Barata, the President led a tranquil 
existence. Though he was not unoccupiedthere were always piles 
of documents to be signed, his ministers of government regularly visited 
him with reports, and he had to preside over frequent meetings in 
Barcelona this period, like each of his previous eight-month stays 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

in Barcelona and Valencia, was an obscure one in Azana's personal 
life, probably because he wished it to be so. Apprehensive of the 
mobs, and accompanied only by his wife (who contributed to the 
war effort as a nurse), by his private secretary, an occasional friend, a 
handful of guards, his military advisers, and the Treasurer of the 
Presidential Household (old friend Sindulfo de la Fuente), he lived 
from day to day increasingly irritated by news of Loyalist setbacks. 
Aside from his business of state in Barcelona, his principal sallies were 
visits to nearby places like Montserrat and Benicarlo, and public 
appearances for his few wartime speeches. Because Azana deplored 
the Communists and the Anarchists, and they had no use for him, his 
virtual seclusion was primarily a means of staying alive. 

The rest of the government (the cabinet, that is) had given up 
Madrid for lost when on the evening of November 6, 1936, they 
left by auto for Valencia. Headed by Prime Minister Largo Caballero, 
they all traveled together, except Indalecio Prieto (then Minister of 
Air and Navy), who stayed on until the next evening when he left 
by airplane. The group traveling by car had a narrow escape before 
they arrived in Valencia: they were delayed on the way by a wildcat 
band of unsympathetic Anarchists. Although the original plan was for 
the government to be established in Barcelona, for a number of 
practical reasons Valencia instead became the improvised capital, and 
the seat of government activity was not moved to Barcelona until 
November of 1937. In a way it was unfortunate that Azana chose 
to live in Barcelona while Valencia was the center of activity. His 
signature was sometimes urgently needed when it had to be got by 
mail, and he was unavailable for advice and decisions that should 
have been given and made on the spot. 

Somehow the people of Madrid seemed to fight harder without the 
red tape and bureaucratic inefficiency. Only a handful of lower- 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

echelon radio and censorship personnel remained behind. After the 
initial panic, the flight of the government had the opposite effect of 
erasing defeatism and rallying the people to a supreme effort of their 
own defense under orders of General Jose Miaja, who had been left 
to form and head a defense junta. In the present writer's opinion, four 
interdependent phenomena saved Madrid; no single one of them could 
have accomplished that result: (1) the leadership of strong-willed 
Miaja and his hastily organized General Staffhe knew how to demand 
obedience, and they knew how to respond; (2) the timely appearance 
of Russian technicians and materiel; (3) the arrival of three battalions 
of the Eleventh International Brigade at a critical juncture in the 
fighting, November 8; and (4) the people's collective will to resist. 
The last development had been solidified, although not created, by the 
first three. Men and women built parapets with ordinary builder's 
bricks and paving stones dug up from the streets. Barricades were 
improvised from furniture, mattresses, pillows, and other furnishings. 
The Plaza de Espana (where one can still see the statue of Don Quijote 
and Sancho Panza) grew a sandbagged trench, because from there it 
was only a short way down the hill to the Manzanares river and Casa 
de Campo where the Rebel attack was the strongest. The International 
Brigade had no sooner arrived than it went into action at Casa de 
Campo and around the nearby University City. All too quickly its 
ranks were halved by casualties in warfare as fierce as any battle had 
ever been. The besieging generals were confident of a quick ground 
victory that never came, nor did the ensuing and almost daily air raids 
of November and December break the will of the city. Gradually a 
stalemate developed that was to last in Madrid until the end of the 
war, which is to say that Madrid never surrendered. 

Although the unquestionable bravery and tenacity of the Inter- 
national soldiers was instrumental in the rescue of Madrid, the Brigades 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

were in the early part of the war as independent as die militias, and 
undeniably Communist dominated. They grew accustomed to a certain 
amount of deference from the grateful madrilenos. A woman who had 
been a nurse in one of the Madrid hospitals told me that she had to 
give special treatment and extra food, including sugar which was so 
scarce, to the International Brigades' wounded, when the Spanish 
wounded did not even have enough to eat. Aside from the handful 
of idealists and intellectuals, who will inevitably appear in any Left- 
wing organization, the Brigades were populated with adventurers, 
riffraff, and Communist union-men from everywhere, who often sub- 
ordinated military affairs to the propagandizing of Communist ideology, 
Even after the formation of the Peoples' Army later, the political com- 
mittees and not the Republican government really directed the war. 
Each political group became increasingly intolerant of the others as 
the war progressed, and the Internationale was heard more often than 
the Himno de Riego (Republican national anthem). The Inter- 
national Brigades first went into action at Madrid and fought in Spain 
until September 28, 1938. By that time, the need for them was no 
longer desperate, and their withdrawal from the trenches was thought 
to have propaganda value. The Internationals officially left Spain on 
October 28, 1938, ten days after their farewell parade in Barcelona, 
although some of them found unofficial ways to return to fight for the 

Interesting reading today are the now rare issues (May 24, 1937, 
to November 7, 1938) of The Volunteer for Liberty, organ of the 
English-speaking battalions of the International Brigades in Spain. 
This tabloid was published at weekly or longer intervals in a great 
variety of lengths and other dimensions, according to the availability 
of paper and presses, but always with the same general content. It 
was chiefly a pro-Russian and anti-capitalist propaganda sheet with an 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

appeal directed to worker sentiment, despite its pretense at reporting 
world happenings and war news for the isolated soldier. A good strike 
in the U.S.A., for example, was always a worthy news item. Only 
once did the Volunteer speak of "our President/' Don Manuel Azafia, 
with a biographical piece in the February 28, 1938, issue. Otherwise 
the attention went to the speeches and activities of Juan Negrin, whose 
Premiership of the Republic obviously was acceptable to the Com- 

Edwin Rolfe was a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of 
the Fifteenth International Brigade and the second of three editors 
of The Volunteer for Liberty. In 1939 he published a book, The 
Lincoln Battalion, a history of that Battalion. On page 1 58 he described 
the first anniversary of the defense of Madrid (November 7-14, 1937) 
and spoke of the "gay flags and posters and decorations in celebration 
of the event and of the twentieth anniversary of the U.S.S.R., which 
all Madrid all of Republican Spain is commemorating with the 
warmth and spontaneity so characteristic of the people. Spanish flags 
wave from the electric poles of all street cars, huge signs and posters 
are plastered over all central buildings, even on the great arch in the 
Calle de Alcala. Numerous huge pictures of the founder of Spanish 
Socialism, Pablo Iglesias, and of the well-loved and richly bearded 
(in the most fantastic colors) Carlos Marx." No atmosphere for 
Manuel Azaiia! 

On January 21, 1937, a little over two months after Madrid's most 
critical days, Manuel Azana gave at the Ayuntamiento in Valencia 
the first of his four wartime speeches. One can still see him declaiming 
a part of this speech in the film Spanish Earth, produced in the first 
year of the war and narrated by Ernest Hemingway. The short scene 
in the film also gives a glimpse of Azafia's oratorical technique, although 
the confident pose is not typical of the President's four wartime 


The Tragedy of Manuel AzaRo 

speeches in general, which were more subdued and unsure than his 
previous ones. The old verve was replaced with a kind of warmth 
that had always been the one element lacking to a perfection of style 
in less melancholy days of public speaking. The whole Valencia 
speech was moderate in its appeal, and the tone was not defeatist, but 
neither did his words exude any unfounded faith in victory. 

Azana spoke of the re-establishment of order, in Spain and in 
Europe. Unlike most of his colleagues of government, Azana never 
hoped for a general European war as the solution to the Spanish 
Republic's predicament. Such a solution would not be advantageous, 
he said, first because any war in itself a is always a catastrophe"; second, 
"because a general war, if it did break out, would rob the Spanish 
cause of its identity." As he paid homage to the madrilenos for their 
magnificent defense of Madrid, a city "where nothing had ever 
happened/* Azana exhorted them to military discipline and obedience 
to the government as the only path to victory. With words of caution 
against the dangers of "Spanish spontaneity" and "personal initiative," 
he expanded his appeal to all Loyalists, in and out of uniform, for 
discipline and order. 

The last lines of this discourse were pathos itself, and expression of 
deep regret and personal tragedy. "Peace will come (vendrd la paz), 
and I hope it overwhelms all of you with joy. But not me." The war 
has been torture, he continued, for someone in a position like his. 
"None of us has desired this awful fate .... We have fulfilled 
the terrible task of rising to the occasion." This is to say that he pain- 
fully continued in the Presidency only from a sense of duty. "Peace 
will come and with it victory, but the victory will be an impersonal 
one: the victory of the law [always the legalistic view], the victory of 
the people, the victory of the Republic .... It will not be a personal 
triumph, because when one has in his soul the Spaniard's grief that 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

I Lave, one does not gain a personal triumph over compatriots. And 
when your first magistrate raises the flag of victory, surely his heart 
will break, and no one will ever know who has suffered most for the 
liberty of Spain/' Such were the words of a man who was more 
wounded than angry, more zealous of peace than of victory. Even 
though he made no concrete reference to possible defeat or compromise, 
the whole tenor of the speech gave the impression that Azaiia would 
accept any government for Spain as long as it was based on national 
independence and individual liberties. Was this a disguised overture 
for an armistice, from a speaker experienced in rhetorical art of subtlety 
and suggestion? Surely the phrase 'Victory will come" typified the 
passiveness of his concept of victory. 

In 1937 Azafia used certain devious diplomatic offices to work for 
a negotiated peace. His sending Julian Besteiro to London is still a 
mysterious affair. When the British government invited the Spanish 
President to attend the coronation of George VI on May 12, 1937, 
Azaiia instead sent Besteiro, under circumstances which many people 
presumed to have been a peace mission, one which sought the aid 
of England as an intermediary in putting an end to the Spanish War. 
Apparently the effort was in vain, for Besteiro returned and nothing 
happened, nor did Besteiro ever make a report to anybody but Azafia. 

Meanwhile Communist influence in Loyalist affairs was increasing 
day by day. Francisco Largo Caballero had been Prime Minister since 
September 4, 1936, when the moderate Giral government resigned 
after the fall of Inin and Talavera de la Reina. It was Largo Caballero 
who had accepted Communists in the government for the first time, 
and later regretted it. It was also he who, having assumed both the 
Ministry of War and the Prime Ministry, imagined himself to be a 
military strategist and made such a mess of things that the miraculous 
defense of Madrid in November owed nothing to him except its 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

necessity, the result of Kis blunders. In two months, he tad taken 
practically no steps to defend the city from either air raid or ground 
assault, while during this time his combined Minister of State and 
Chief of Political Commissars, the rnore-than-pink Julio Alvarez del 
Vayo, was very busy indoctrinating the armed forces. Largo Caballero 
was a hotheaded agitator and union man (head of the Socialist UGT) 
who had risen from the rank and file to insinuate himself into the 
government. This background, plus his support by a large segment 
of the workers, led Moscow to a wrong interpretation of his revolu- 
tionary tendencies. Largo Caballero was a "pure" kind of Socialist 
revolutionary, equally inimical to capitalists and Communists. When 
in typical Spanish fashion he proved to be not internationalistic, hence 
not subservient to Russian interests, means were found to replace him 
with Dr. Juan Negrin, who was installed as Prime Minister on May 17, 
1937, As Minister of Finance under Largo Caballero, Negrin was 
the one who sent the Spanish gold to Moscow. 

Professor of physiology at the University of Madrid, an intellectual, 
and outwardly a moderate type of Socialist, Negrin was to open the 
doors wide to Communist domination of the government and the 
armed forces. Prior to his ascent, the Communists had dominated 
principally the city that they had rescued at the end of 1936 Madrid. 
Negrin remains today one of the most controversial figures of the 
Spanish Civil War. Undeniably he was a strong leader, an indefatig- 
able worker, and a fighter to the end. His courage, self-confidence, 
resourcefulness, and vigorous personality won him the perpetual praise 
of Herbert Matthews and certain other correspondents whose personal 
involvement with the Loyalist cause may have taken a measure of 
objectivity from their writing. Even Azana accepted Negrin at first, 
and so did the non-Communist and non-Catholic Indalecio Prieto, 
whose key role as Negrin's Defense Minister lasted until April 5, 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

1938, when Communist pressure finally forced Negrin to remove 
Prieto. But few of the Negrin supporters in die press ever really knew 
this tactless, indecorous, disorganized, and unscrupulous man, whom 
even his friends admit to have been a kind of Rasputin-of-the-stomach- 
and-sex in his personal life. Was he secretly a Communist? Many 
think so. I doubt it. I should prefer to think that his close ties with 
the Communists were simply a matter of expediency, while in turn 
the Communists supported him because he was a man of action with 
little concern for parliamentary red tape. With time, Negrin became 
more and more Machiavellian. He lost sight of the cause and would 
have won the war at any cost, even at the cost of Republicanism 
itself. Meanwhile President Azana continued to believe that no ideal 
was worth the destruction of Spain. 

Having established himself firmly in the Premiership, Negrin soon 
showed a scorn for Azana's plodding constitutionalism. Privately he 
often referred to Azana as an "hombre de cartdn-yiedra J (papier- 
mache man). To Negrin, Azana represented weakness. These two 
men, so different in outlook, exasperated each other. Even though 
Negrin did keep up appearances, he would have preferred to ignore 
Azana and Azana's office of Presidency of the Republic. Negrin 
intimidated the Cortes, which under him met only seldom and did 
nothing, and he disregarded everybody else who failed to fall in line 
with his dictatorial policies. Eventually he had more power than any 
other Republican Minister had ever had, yet his constant complaint 
was that "they don't let me govern." But how did Negrin govern? 
His routine, or rather his lack of it, confused everybody. He was a 
tireless worker, but would work only in his own way. He could 
never be found when needed. He exposed himself to unnecessary 
danger by his frequent travels and visits to the various fronts. Then 
in the middle of the war, after first having consulted with Azana, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

who presumably gave his approval, Negrin packed his bags and before 
dawn one morning enplaned for a convention of physiologists in 
Zurich! He returned from the convention disappointed, because he 
was hoping to exchange medical views with a certain American pro- 
fessor who did not attend. Such was life with Prime Minister Negrin 
in the midst of the Civil War. 

In the summer of 1938, President Azana lost his showdown en- 
counter with Negrin. The Gestapo-like tactics of the Prime Minister's 
administration had bred the worst sort of terrorism, and Azana made 
an attempt to utilize his constitutional prerogatives in order to replace 
Negrin. Inasmuch as Communist officers held two-thirds of the 
higher military commands, it was not difficult for the Communist 
party to persuade a majority of the senior officers to send to the Presi- 
dent messages of unquestioned confidence in Negrin. Also a pro- 
Negrin parade of Russian tanks and airplanes was arranged to take 
place in and over Barcelona. Azana found it impossible to act in 
face of such evidence that the army was behind Negrin; consequently, 
on August 16, 1938, Negrin went to see Azana and emerged from the 
interview reconfirmed in the office of Prime Minister, which in 
reality was that of dictator, until the end of the war. 

No one should deny that in the early months of the war the Com- 
munists helped save Madrid, or that the Communist units were the 
principal, if not the only, units fighting at the end of the war (in Cata- 
lonia, that is all else was anticlimax). These two facts have led numer- 
ous observers to false conclusions, since it was the Communists who, in 
this writer's opinion, really lost the war for the Republic during the 
years of attrition between the beginning and end of the war. Despite 
the substantial German and Italian aid to the Insurgents, this was a 
war in which victory for the Loyalists was possible all along, after the 
first few months of utter chaos. Ironically, the Rebel uprising of July, 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

1936, against presumed Communist domination was what actually 
catapulted die Communists into a position of domination, unattainable 
before die war when even the Popular Front electoral victory of 
February, 1936, brought only fourteen Communist deputies to the 

The swiftness of the Republic's initial setbacks created an excep- 
tional situation that required full utilization of makeshift defensive 
tactics, born of popular zeal. But that improvisation continued, despite 
the gradual buildup of what was called a Peoples' Army. Why? 
Because a weak government allowed military matters constantly to 
be subordinated to the imposing of ideologies. Many of the high 
Communist commanders under Negrin were stupid, even illiterate, 
individuals who continued in the same vein as in the early days of the 
war, when everybody was half-soldier and made war on his own 
account and in his own way. When the Ejerdto Poptdar was formed, 
a corps of professional officers might have been created, men not tied 
to the apron strings of any party. After the initial emergency in 
Madrid, the poorly organized militias and International Brigades and 
all their immense autonomy might more judiciously have been reserved 
only for such minor action as guerrilla warfare. After the confusion 
of the early days, the war was not lost by the soldier, but by the 
Loyalist military leaders' incapacity to utilize his qualities. In the 
entire two and one-half years of war, the Republican government made 
scarcely any progress in the development of intelligent and able 

To discover the exceptions to this is to reconsider always the regional 
nature of the war: that the combatants themselves fought for varying 
reasons and with varying means; that the areas of combat were largely 
isolated one from the other, each region with its own variety of Spanish 
provincial customs and temperament; and that the Spanish petty 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

bourgeoisie in general wavered between a loyalty to its regional and 
national governments on the one hand, this loyalty diminishing in 
proportion as the proletarian revolution grew regionally and nationally, 
and on the other hand an awareness that it had less to lose to Fascist 
dictatorship than to a dictatorship of the proletariat, should the latter 
gain the upper hand in the event of a Republican victory. This is to 
reiterate that when proletarian violence makes democracy no longer 
possible, capitalism can turn to fascism as a last stand. All of these 
considerations created a Loyalist soldier who was difficult to define, 
because his first loyalty was frequently to his patria chica, or to his 
political party or trade union, or to whatever represented his own 
interests, rather than to the Republican government and to any collec- 
tive ideal for which it stood. Since the issues of the war were never 
clear for either side, it is easy to understand why so much of a contra- 
dictory nature was written by on-the-spot soldiers and observers, who 
usually had only a worm's eye view of the war from the sector to 
which they were assigned. George Orwell wrote an absorbing narrative 
of the military action and political events in Catalonia (Homage to 
Catalonia), but he had no frame of reference to developments on the 
Basque or Central fronts. G. L Steer recorded the entire course of 
the war in the Basque country (The Tree of Gernika, another excel- 
lent book), where the ideologies, the loyalties, and the fighting itself 
were so different from those of Catalonia that they might have been 
on another planet. Even the best of the correspondents who covered 
more than one front, like Hemingway, Herbert Matthews, Vincent 
Sheean, or Lawrence Fernsworth, sometimes tended to assume too 
much. When a writer did manage to perceive a coherent view of the 
war, that view was frequently fogged by his own political or religious 
bias. The best history of the Spanish Civil War will possibly be 
written some day by someone who was never in Spain. 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Before Azafia presented himself in the halls of the University of 
Valencia to deliver his second speech of the war, on the occasion of its 
first anniversary, July 18, 1937, Malaga had fallen on February 8 of 
that year and Bilbao on June 19. Although things were going badly, 
they had not yet become hopeless, and Azafia was to give his only 
fighting speech of the war. He spoke of the German, Italian, and 
Portuguese aid to the Nationalists, aid without which the military 
rebellion would surely have failed. After he had reviewed the motives 
for the "foreign invasion," he turned his attention to the League of 
Nations, the Non-intervention Committee, the proposal to give Franco 
belligerent rights, the miraculous formation of a Republican Army in 
one year, civilian morale, the origin of the war (hatred and fear), and, 
finally, the question of national unity. Again his words demonstrated 
his indignation, the word which best describes his reaction to the inter- 
national treatment accorded the legitimate Spanish government. 

Why had not England, France, or the U.S. A. helped the Spanish 
Republic? Undoubtedly their diplomatic reports had emphasized the 
unstable situation caused by proletarian extremism in Spain, and the 
democracies' demurral was based mainly on fear of involvement. Even 
though opinion was divided in the democratic countries, their govern- 
ments probably would have come openly to the rescue of the Spanish 
Republic had it not been for a vain hope that non-intervention might 
prevent further ideological division of Europe by discouraging German 
and Italian aid to the insurgents. The democracies' continued failure 
to act, even when German and Italian aid became both ample and 
overt, presaged the coming spirit of appeasement, infamous in one 
word Munich. In the case of Spain, non-intervention was equivalent 
to appeasement, because European status quo was to be achieved at 
the expense of the Spanish Republic, whose spasmodic aid from Russia 
(and trickle from Mexico) never matched that of the insurgents' 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

assistance from Germany and Italy. Nor was Russia ever a real friend 
of the Spanish Republic, Russia not only sought to enrich herself with 
Republican gold, but coveted a position of advantage in international 
politics (like Germany and Italy) at the expense of Spanish lives. The 
first Russian materiel did not arrive, however, until October 15, 1936. 
By that time, non-intervention had already been proven a farce, for the 
Fascist dictatorships had supplied Franco uninterruptedly since almost 
the beginning. 

France, in the person of its Premier, the Socialist Leon Blum, was 
more disposed than was England to help the Republic. He and his 
government had recently gained office on a Front Populaire program, 
like the Spanish government, and he personally not only wanted to 
help his fellow Socialists in Spain, but was convinced that a continua- 
tion of the present Spanish state was in the best interests of France. 
Yet the vehemence of the opposition from the Right, together with the 
fear of jeopardizing the friendship of England, vital in those troubled 
days, caused him to accede ultimately and reluctantly to the policy of 
non-intervention, a position conceived by the British in the very first 
week of the Spanish War. As early as July 21, 1936, the Spanish 
Prime Minister of the moment, Jose Giral, Azafia's old friend, had 
telephoned Paris to seek military supplies. This type of purchase was 
not only normal to a sovereign government under international law, 
but also guaranteed by a secret clause in the French-Spanish commer- 
cial treaty signed in December of 1935. Unofficially some French aid 
did reach the Spanish Republic for example, the French Air Minister 
and friend of the Republic, Pierre Cot, did everything he could, over 
and under the counter but ironically it was the early proven German 
and Italian intervention that persuaded the French to adopt a policy 
of avoiding an intervention contest. Blum's hands were tied; duty to 
his own France overrode the obligation he felt to Spain. 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

In the U.S.A. the master realist-politician, Franklin Roosevelt, en- 
visaged internal political complications as a result of the religious 
factor if he acted in behalf of the Republic, this despite the fact that 
Americans who were awake to world affairs leaned largely to the 
Loyalists. Not enough people anywhere, however, really understood 
the Spanish situation; and the force of world opinion, major aim of all 
propaganda in the present atomic age, was not yet sufficiently devel- 
oped in the 1930's to prevent the widespread vacillation in the matter 
of what to do about Spain. The non-intervention policy, result of that 
vacillation, became the most significant factor in the Loyalist military 
defeat, and the U.S.A. shared in the responsibility for it. Again this 
would have to assume that the Republic was salvageable and that the 
Loyalist state was worth saving, as Ambassador Bowers believed it was, 
though he was unable to convince Roosevelt until it was too late. 

In Valencia in the early part of 1937, Manuel Azana sat, or rather 
stood, for his only portrait in Presidential regalia. The artist was the 
well-known portrait painter, Jose Maria Lopez Mezquita, A large 
quantity of this artist's canvases may be viewed in New York City at 
die Museum of the Hispanic Society of America. Born in Granada 
in 1883 (he died December 6, 1954), Lopez Mezquita dedicated 
himself to portraiture at an early age and specialized in peasant types. 
Then in the late 1920's Archer M. Huntington, founder of the His- 
panic Society of America, engaged Lopez Mezquita to paint a series 
of portraits of prominent Spaniards and Spanish Americans. His is 
the well-known canvas of Alfonso XIII in hunting costume, of Juan 
Belmonte, and of the Infanta Dona Isabel de Borbon, of Ramon Perez 
de Ayala, Unamuno, Baroja, and other Spanish intellectuals. 

The Azana portrait is a handsome work and the only known oil 
painting of Manuel Azana. At this writing, the original portrait graces 
the mantel above the fireplace in the modest little apartment of Azana s 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

widow in Mexico City. Undoubtedly the painting will remain with 
her side of the family. Azana himself held the canvas in great esteem, 
and now it is Sra, de Azana's principal possession. On the occasion 
of one of my interviews with her, she gave me permission to hring my 
small camera in order to photograph the portrait. When I arrived, 
a feminine hand had adorned the mantel directly under the portrait 
with an elegant display of fresh carnations, whose red brilliance 
matched perfectly the bright red of the sash worn by the subject of 
the portrait. For the occasion, that same feminine hand had placed 
two specially bound copies of Azana's books on the same mantel, one 
copy on each side of the flowers. 

The portrait captures a characteristic pose, to which perhaps the 
large glasses or the slightly raised eyebrows endow a blank, slightly 
questioning or is it stubborn? expression. Though the eyes retain 
all their hauteur, they also have a hint of sadness, while the glossy 
forehead, double chin, and faintly disguised paunch announce the 
approach of the winter of life. The light of intelligence shines in this 
face; otherwise the exaggerated curve of the upper lip and its distinc- 
tive canal to the nose (a characteristic of all the Azafias) give the 
square physiognomy its only exceptional feature. Cover all of the 
portrait but the mouth and you will see the full, sensual, almost 
feminine lips. 

The excessive flesh, which used to give him a squat appearance, dis- 
guised the fact that Azana was slight of build. But the narrow and 
sloping shoulders are an accurate detail that distinguishes the original 
painting in Mexico from its copy, by the same artist, held in the 
Hispanic Society Museum in New York. This Museum claims to own 
only originals and was unaware, until I pointed it out to an official 
there (who, I think, did not believe me), that in this case their paint- 
ing is a copy. Probably owing to a lack of public interest, the Museum's 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Canvas of Azana Las not been on display in recent years, But is kept 
in a vault The Society's records indicate that the picture was acquired 
(arrived at the Museum) on October 26, 1937. The original in 
Mexico, however, must have been painted very early in that year, 
because (1) the artist did not request permission to copy the painting 
until some time after he had finished the original and delivered it to 
Azana, and (2) the copy now in the Hispanic Society Museum was 
reproduced in Republican Spain as early as February, 1937. Azana 
himself did not want the copy to be made, for fear that the original 
would thus lose value; but according to Sra. de Azana, "he owed Lopez 
Mezquita a favor," and at length gave his permission. To the best of 
my knowledge, this was the copy which the artist sold to Huntington, 
who in turn presented it to the Hispanic Society. 

The original painting remained hidden in France during the Second 
World War, along with an estimated six thousand books of all kinds 
remaining from Azana's private library. The books are still there some- 
where in France and, unfortunately, are not for sale. 5 After World 
War II, the exiled widow of Azana made a trip to France in order to 
visit her husband's grave and to bring back to her apartment in Mexico 
City what she hoped would be the intact portrait. The painting was 
not only still safe, but its dimensions (which she had forgotten) fit 
perfectly on the wall for which it had been reserved in that "temporary" 
apartment of a second-class district in Mexico City. She has lived for 
many years now in that apartment, where she continues to nourish 

5 Azaiia's only sister, Josef a (see page 9), had been deeded the family tome in Alcala 
de Henares by Manuel and Gregorio Azafia many years ago, and there see had lived until 
the early days of the Civil War when the Rebels held the city briefly. At that time she 
and her husband went to Murcia and then later to France. When Manuel Azafia 
relinquished his private residence at Serrano 38, he stored his books in a bookseller's base- 
ment in Madrid and later had them brought to Valencia during the war. From Valencia 
he sent the books to his sister in France. Reportedly numerous other personal and political 
documents were entrusted to another person in Toulouse whose domicile was raided by the 
Gestapo during the German occupation. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

reminiscences of better days, though she is resolved never to return to 
Spain. I recall that she once reverently showed me an enlarged photo- 
graph of Azafia s right hand, the hand, she explained, which penned 
the books and signed the documents of state. 

For two weeks at the end of April and beginning of May, 1937, that 
hand was writing its most telling analysis of the first year of the Spanish 
War, a sober statement of truths which relegates his 1937 speeches 
to the realm of forced optimism and the formal encouragement ex- 
pected from the President of a people who were losing a war for, if not 
their questionable democracy, at least their independence. The Span- 
ish title of this the most poignant of all Azana s literary works was 
La velada en Benicarlo; what is between its covers obviously could not 
be published during the war, at least from the pen of the President. 
Little unofficial publishing facility existed in wartime Republican 
Spain anyhow. Azana took the manuscript with him when he crossed 
into France in 1939, and he allowed it to be published first in French 
as La veillee a Benicarlo (Paris, 1939) by the Gallimard firm, with 
French translation by Jean Camp. (By coincidence the work was 
published on the same day that France declared war on Germany.) 
Later in the same year, the Editorial Losada published in Buenos Aires 
the original Spanish text. 

By intention or by coincidence, the title has symbolic importance. 
Velada can mean a soiree or evening party, but literally and etymologi- 
cally (Azana s diction is usually precise) it means a vigil or the act of 
watching something or watching over something. The book's vehicle 
of expression is a dialogue among some Loyalist professional and politi- 
cal types. Most of the conversation, about the Civil War, its causes, 
and its progress, takes place in the evening at an inn in Benicarlo, 
where the travelers have stopped. Not only is the general discussion a 
kind of recorded iertulia, but interpreted in larger terms it is a wake 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

for Spain, a velada which Azana witnesses not only as the creator of 
these disputants, whom he "watches" while they argue their own 
opinions (mostly his own opinions), but as President, and thus, by 
obligation, the principal caretaker of what has become, to him, the 
corpse of Spain. Maybe Azana did not intend such symbols; even so, 
their parallel is apt; he did conduct a velada during the whole of the 
Spanish Civil War, 

Azana wrote the dialogue two weeks before the CNT and POUM 6 
insurrection of May 3-10, 1937, in Barcelona. In a foreword written 
in 1939 he tells how he dictated the rough copy during the four days 
of his siege in the Catalonian Parliament building, and he claims not 
to have added a word to the manuscript since. Maybe he needed these 
circumstances to impel him to vent his spleen, for the first time, in 
writing. The tempest of civil war within the Civil War put whitecaps 
of anger on Azana's normally tranquil prose, now deep troughed with 
disillusionment. Keenly analytical, La velada en Eenicarlo reads like 
oratory given fictional form by the pressure of circumstances. 

Azana's premise, as always, is that what is moral and just is born of 
human reason. This conviction lay at the root of his variance with the 
church, for the Christian religion puts ultimate justice in another 
world. Now it is the whole war that lacks reason, because no possible 
outcome could justify the cost, nor does the war resolve anything, 
Azana puts his own sentiment into the words of one of his discourses: 
"If in 30 or 31, at the start of the Republic, its advent had depended 
on me, on the condition that Spain be plunged into a horrible war, I 
would have resigned myself not to see a Republic in my whole life." 

As the group discusses the shortcomings of the Republic, someone 
comments upon the Spaniard's tragic capacity for quick-tempered 
violence. The atrocities of the Loyalists, however, are committed in 

POUM; Partido Qfoew Vmficado Mandste (Marxist Unified Worker 


The Tragedy of Manuel Aiana 

spite of the government, "inert and impotent because of die rebellion 
itself/' while those of the other zone are committed with the approval 
of the authorities. There are harsh words too concerning the un- 
disciplined Loyalist militias, for the taking of street barricades is 
diff erent from die planned strategy of a battlefield, where improvisation 
usually spells defeat. "Give a prize to the mess steward who prevents 
the insurrection of his battalion, but don't make him a colonel." And 
even of the regulars, "in our land violent, intolerant, undisciplined- 
generals younger than sixty are a national threat/' As to the war in 
Catalonia, "while others fight and die, Catalonia plays politics. There 
is almost no one at the front .... After eight months of war 
Catalonia still has not organized any useful force .... Catalonian 
affairs during the Republic have, more than any others, provoked the 
hostility of the army against the regime." Possibly the outburst against 
Catalonia can be attributed, in some degree, to the circumstances 
under which the polemic was written, for Azana had been more than 
cordial to Catalonian aspirations when he was Prime Minister. But 
otherwise, what irony! Catalonia, which had counted on Azana as 
its greatest champion in the days of the Constituent Cortes; Catalonia, 
to which Azana had brought in person and in triumph the Statute 
of Autonomy this same Catalonia was now the Republic's greatest 

Always a proponent of emancipation of women (in his essay "El 
Idearium de Ganivet" and elsewhere), Azana now devotes lengthy and 
significant passages to a reappraisal of woman's role in die Republic. 
Her accountability in helping to bring about the war has disillusioned 
the emancipator. Spanish women did not take their newly granted 
responsibilities seriously, particularly their right to vote. Maybe die 
matron saw diat numerically her single vote would always weigh less 
than the votes of her servants, but it is more likely that mistress and 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

maids alike made a political program of Catholicism. During the 
time of the 1936 elections, a recommended Spanish catechism of the 
church had taught that it was a mortal sin to vote for or support the 
Republic, or any liberal government which espoused freedom of 
religion, press, or education. 

Anyone who has lived in Spain knows that women form the very 
large majority of the parishioners who come out of nearly any church 
after mass, even in the deeply Catholic Basque country. Of all the 
Christian sects, Catholicism is the faith par excellence of sentiment. 
Catholicism also provides the most guarantees in exchange for obedi- 
ence to its doctrine, which at the consumer level is usually reduced to 
simple ritual with a definite aesthetic appeal. If the male's outlook on 
life is an expansive one, woman must focus. He is most naturally at 
the tiller; she handles the anchor. She, the realist and the giver of 
life and continuity, needs constant reassurance, a fact which the 
church has exploited for centuries. Because patriotism is mostly an 
idealistic concept, patriotism belongs largely to a man's world; and this 
was so in the Spanish Republic, except for a few intellectuals like 
Victoria Kent (who, let it not be forgotten, at the start of the Republic 
opposed the immediate granting of female suffrage), or an unwomanish 
extremist like Dolores Ibarruri, la Pasionaria as she was called. Perhaps 
if the women of the Republic could have foreseen a long, brutal war, 
they might have given more attention to their political responsibilities. 
Instead their negligence helped to create an atmosphere favorable to 
a coup d'etat, while some women actually kindled the flame of 
rebellion. The story is told how women used to cast grains of corn 
in the path of army officers: to identify them as chickens who were 
afraid to revolt. And once the war had begun, the rebels were quick 
to seize upon the propaganda value of their insurrection as a religious 
crusade, which had definite feminine appeal. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Unrelated to the causes of the Spanish War, but of unmistakable 
importance in its eventual outcome, was the already discussed non- 
intervention policy of England and France. This, more than anything 
else, evoked the wrath of President Azana during the almost three years 
of war in his private conversations, in his meetings of state, in his 
speeches, and in La velada en Benicarlo, where he has an interlocutor 
named Pastrana make this observation: "If France and England had 
respected our right to buy arms in their markets, the military and 
political role of the U.S.S.R. would have been here equal to zero/' 
This affirms the military and political role of the U.S.S.R. to have been 
pernicious, but necessary, and it demonstrates Azana's awareness that 
Communist political influence was an inevitable part of the price for 
Russian military aid. Pastrana (Azana) follows with a prophecy that 
came true: "If the Spanish Republic should perish at the hands of 
foreigners, England and France (especially France) would have lost 
the first campaign of the future war." 

One by one the conversers go to bed. The velada Is at an end. The 
inn and the town sleep in dark silence. Suddenly bombs fall, the town 
is on fire, and the inn is in ruins. All of the sympathetic characters of 
the velada are presumably wiped out by the raid. What good were 
all the words, Azana seems to say, specks of dust in a maelstrom of 
destruction? What does the corpse care who was right and who was 
wrong? The sudden and well-calculated indifference of the ending 
dramatizes with eloquent irony Azana s message the senselessness of 
the Spanish Civil War. 

La velada en BenicarU is a bitter book. Its shame, discouragement, 
frustration, and hopelessness are pathetic. Powerless to prevent the 
Civil War, or to alter its course, Azana saw himself as the man who 
came either too soon or too late. Yet even in angry disappointment 
Azana never resorts to personal vituperation in his speeches or pub- 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

lished works; the name Franco is not mentioned here nor in any of 
Azana's wartime speeches. Although Azafia was to resign the Presi- 
dency in 1939 in exile, La velada en Eenkarlo is really his political 
last will and testament, Here he relinquishes his claim to a place in 
public life, with the vain hope that some new leader (Negrln was 
not his man) should come forth to show the way. 

In some of the "I accuse" pamphlet literature which followed the 
end of the Civil War, certain Spaniards who considered themselves 
loyal Republicans took the President to task for having written a 
defeatist work. Undeniably the book is a confession of personal in- 
sufficiency, veiled in a premise that neither side is worth the cost, that 
Azana's countrymen were therefore dying stupidly. But it was an 
honest work, and Azana did not publish it until he considered the war 
to have been irremediably lost for the Republic, and its lessons 
apparent. To the extent that any war can be useful, the Spanish Civil 
War did show that the Republic had taken root more than its opponents 
had believed; it did tear a lot of people from their lethargy; it did teach 
illiterates in the trenches to write (and all that this implies); it did 
instill in many Spanish minds some notion of a national conscience, 
where only a regional one had existed previously; and it did show to 
the world the unsuspected depths of Spaniards' convictions. 

Both the writing of La velada en Benicarlo (dictation of the defini- 
tive draft) and the installation of Negrln as Head of the Government 
date from May, 1937. By August 25 Santander had surrendered after 
offering only token resistance; Gijon fell on October 21. On the 
thirteenth of November, the same month in which the Republican 
government transferred its base from Valencia to Barcelona, Azana 
made the third of his four wartime speeches* this time at the Ayun- 
tamlento of Madrid. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

His words are addressed to "Senor alcalde, madrilenos todos" whom 
he praises for the heroic defense of their city. It is a very good speech 
containing some interesting veiled references. One wonders how many 
of his audience knew that he was really speaking of his own situation 
when he told them that "the greatest achievement in the life of a man 
or of a people is to face up to one's fate, above all when that fate is 
undeserved and cruel . . . . After he has commented on what he 
calls the return to discipline and authority, he says, and these are 
his exact words: "There is again a Republic, a Republic with its three 
colors and no more." And, as long as a democrat presides over the 
Republic, those three colors are "all there will ever be." He refers 
to the Republican flag (red, yellow, and purple), of course, but with 
the unmistakable warning that it cannot become all red (Communist), 
or black and red (Anarchist), or anything else. Consider the variety 
of political colors represented among his audience and his readers the 
speech was reproduced in several languages and imagine the mixed 
reaction to the words of this leader who, as he himself says, never 
relinquished from 1931 to 1939 a single principle of his concept of a 
Republic. "The goal of our war," he affirms, "is to re-establish a 
Republican peace and the Republic/' He continues: 

I proclaim this once and a hundred times, because, my friends, the 
war and the rebellion have not overthrown any one of the moral 
principles which have made my public life, nor those which have 
sustained my personal life in the political sphere. No: not one of them 
has been overthrown, or yielded to any enemy. What seemed to me 
unjust in the month of July, 1936, still seems to me unjust today; 
and what seemed to me practical, urgent, and needful then, in the 
renovation of Spain, still seems so now. I do not wait for a rebellion, 
a revolution, or any insurrection to change all my personal and political 
sentiments. I am the same as I was in the year 1931, and in this spirit 
I preside over the Republic, and I believe that all Spaniards who love 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

their liberty and the independence of their country, in whatever party 
they may be (that is another question), must accept these fundamental 

In this speech, as in his other wartime addresses, one cannot help 
observing the frequency of the word yaz used in preference to victoria. 
The judgment was clear; there could be no victory in a civil war. His 
opponents characterized as phlegm the honesty of a man who, as he 
had declared in his speech of January 21, 1937, still in his heart repre- 
sented all Spaniards, and who therefore could not conceive of "victory" 
over any segment of them. He closes the speech with an expression 
of confidence in tomorrow ("confianza en el manana") > which, like 
peace, is not a synonym for victory. 

Azana and the Republicans enjoyed brief elation when Loyalist 
troops managed to take the city of Teruel early in January of 1938. 7 
This advance injected a feeling of renewed hope into the February 1, 
1938, meeting of the Cortes at, of all places, the famous monastery of 
Montserrat. The meetings were brief, their only highlight being a 
speech read by Negrin. By February 22, Nationalist troops had re- 
captured Teruel. On March 9, a few days before Hitler invaded 
Austria, the Nationalists commenced their Aragon offensive, while 
Negrin flew to Paris to renew attempts at negotiating aid. Driving 
their wedge toward the Mediterranean, the Franco forces reached the 
sea on April 15 and cut the Republic in half. Barcelona, now isolated 
from the central sector of resistance, soon found its principal source of 
electric power to be in the hands of the enemy. On July 24 the 

7 The Republican commander at the victory of Terael was General Hernandez Sarabia, 
always a favorite of Azana since the night of the inception of the Republic, when he had 
escorted Azana into the War Ministry. During the war, Hernandez Sarabia rose to be 
Under-Secretary of War, then Minister of War on August 7, 1936, for about a month 
until Largo Caballero succeeded him, and now he commanded aU the Republican forces 
on the eastern front. Later, in France, he attended Azafia at AzanVs deathbed. 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Loyalists undertook a desperate and briefly successful counterattack 
that has come to be known as the Ebro offensive, a surprise attack 
across the Ebro river. Fighting fiercely, the Republican forces won 
back territory that they were able to hold until mid-November. Those 
who know Azana say that the early part of the Ebro offensive was the 
only period during the war when he exhibited any real optimism, 
perhaps because he saw in the gains some basis for negotiation. The 
offensive did bolster morale temporarily, but after the Loyalists had 
gradually retreated to their original positions, on December 23 the 
Rebel forces launched their own offensive on Catalonia. By now 
Franco had masses of imported men and materiel. His swift advance 
reached Tarragona on January 15, 1939, and culminated on January 
26 in the fall of Barcelona, which did not know how to defend itself 
as heroic Madrid had done. 

Something must be said, however, for Barcelona. Physically and 
culturally more the image of Paris than of Madrid, traditionally 
prosperous Barcelona has always had a solid core of thrifty bourgeoisie 
more orderly and less spontaneous than their counterparts in Madrid. 
The unruly element of Barcelona was mostly the trade-unionist class, 
larger and more powerful than that of any other large city in Spain, 
because Barcelona was and is the industrial hub of the nation. Regard- 
less of class or political affiliation the people of Barcelona had been 
enervated by more than two years of hunger, privation, and political 
terrorism; and the force closing in on the city was between eight and 
ten times larger than the one that had threatened Madrid in her day 
of crisis. Then too, because of Communist domination and the purges 
even at the front, the will to resist was ebbing among both soldiers 
and civilians of all parties. All the evidence indicates that numerically 
the Communists were still the minority, had there been polls to prove 
it, but the Communists continued to control the Russian-made weapons 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

and the whole military organization until it was too late. Even with a 
miraculous Loyalist victory, the future of democracy in Spain seemed 
doubtful, and this increasingly apparent fact had its effect on the 
civilian will to a doubtful sacrifice. As the enemy approached Barce- 
lona, the fifth column within the city came out practically in the 
open. Accordingly the last-ditch battle planned for Gerona never 
came off. A contagion of defeatism had spread even to the rear guard, 
while in many sectors the exhausted main body of the army rivaled 
with its desertions the panic of the populace, because from that north- 
east corner of Spain the only escape route led to the sea or across 
the mountains to France. Coincident with these events of the last 
part of 1938 and the early months of 1939, British Prime Minister 
Chamberlain had been waving his umbrella around Europe, while 
Hitler was carving up Czechoslovakia. 

The last public speech that Manuel Azaiia ever made has elements 
of greatness. He gave the speech before the improvised Cortes as- 
sembled at the Genemlidad building in Barcelona on July 18, 1938, 
the second anniversary of the outbreak of the war, and six days before 
the desperate Republican Ebro offensive. Later the speech was printed 
in pamphlet form, like his other wartime addresses. Unlike the others, 
there was a gilt-edged edition of exactly seventy-five handsomely bound 
copies. Copy number sixty-seven is today a treasured relic in the 
possession of Azana's widow. The location of the remaining seventy- 
four copies is unknown. Undoubtedly some are privately held, but to 
my knowledge no library in the U.S.A. has a copy of the special 

In this speech, as ever, President Azana showed himself to be more 
concerned with the salvation of his country than with any military 
victory of extermination. All of his wartime speeches had as their 
scope this larger view of things. Again he was speaking to all Spaniards 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

and exhorting them to reconciliation. With his customary refinement 
of composition and delivery, Azana's words of restraint continued to 
remind Republicans of their constitutional rights and duties to the very 
end. Most of what he had to say, therefore, was not new. He spoke 
of the reasons underlying the international aspects of the war. He 
reiterated that the war must te limited, for he still maintained that 
to limit it was to extinguish it. (Just prior to this speech, there had 
been some governmental discussion concerning the possibility of 
bombing Italian ports in retaliation.) He also reiterated his own 
Spaniard's shame at seeing foreigners fighting on Spanish soil. He 
mentioned again what he termed the Spanish disease of intolerance 
and fanaticism, and he reaffirmed that no one wins a civil war. His 
only new theme was a suggestion that after two horrible years the 
Spanish War had burned itself out, had run its course, that Spain 
and Spaniards of both sides were spent. The physical, economic, and 
moral destruction of Spain was the basis of his new appeal for peace, 
for he had never aspired to a victory of annihilation. The last sentence 
of the speech of July 18, 1938, is famous. It consists of sixteen printed 
lines (160 words) of exquisite declamatory prose, wherein he pro- 
claims poetically that the dead, no longer angry, send the "message of 
the eternal fatherland, which says to all her sons: Peace, Pity, and 
Pardon/* These three words, Paz, Piedad y Perdon, the last that 
Manuel Azana uttered from the rostrum of state, have become known 
as the three P's of Azana and have been quoted by everybody who has 
wished to discredit him. 

The three Ps surely indicated a readiness to negotiate, if not an 
admission of defeat, quite the opposite of Negrin's slogan of the three 
R's (Resistir, resistir, resistir). As it turned out, the war was lost any- 
how, and without honor, but Azafia's speech was received badly by 
part of the government, and most especially by the Communists in 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

attendance, who did not hide their abstention from applause after the 
President had finished. Azana's advocacy of a negotiated peace was 
not lacking in support; it was what most Republicans favored privately. 
The controlling Communists, who now had the most to gain from a 
possible Loyalist triumph, were the principal voices demanding that 
the war be won at any cost. Oddly enough, if one can believe Julian 
Zugazagoitia (one of the Republican Ministers and director of the 
newspaper El socialistd), not only did Negrin know about this speech 
in advance, but he approved of what Azana said. 8 

Nevertheless, all the evidence indicates that from the spring of 1938 
Azana was a prisoner of Negrin's policies, and that during the last 
year of the war the President led a life of quiet desperation. It is a 
mystery why, in his political sequestration, Azana was encouraged to 
make the speech of July 18, 1938. Maybe Negrin wanted a show of 
democratic appearances. Maybe the periodic public appearance of the 
Spanish President was essential to the pro-Republican segment of 
international opinion, to which Negrin was vulnerable. The Presi- 
dent of the Republic had spoken on the first anniversary of the war, 
July 18, 1937, and the journalists and foreign correspondents would be 
quick to draw conclusions about his failure to address the nation on 
the second anniversary. In face of Franco's demand for an uncondi- 

8 Julian Zugazagoitia, Historia de la guerra en Esyana (Buenos Aires, 1940), p. 440. 
Zugazagoitia quotes Negrin as follows, which I give in translation: "What Azana said 
is in complete agreement with the aims of the Government. I saw the speech two (lays 
before it was given, and it was I who asked the president to reinforce that part which you 
think compromises the Government. Azafia himself was surprised that I accepted some 
parts of the speech, to the extent that when he expounded them to me he presumed they 
would not be to my liking. I did not reject them, because I found them to be all right, and 
I pronounced them suitable then and there. It was a job to convince him to give a speech. 
He turned down my invitation with these words: 1 just cannot speak unless I say what 
I feel and think. It would go against both my principles and my responsibility to address 
the nation and mince words.' That is, I explained to him, precisely wfcat we wish of you; 
to tell the nation what you think. So, except for the pessimistic and gloomy tone. I 
subscribe to what the president said. Otherwise I could not have authorized the speech." 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

tional surrender, Negrin's famous Thirteen Points (announced May 
1, 1938) for die cessation of hostilities had been another show of 
democracy. Since the Thirteen Points could be found in the Republic's 
Constitution anyhow, his proposing them as a basis for peace showed 
either naivete or a lack of respect for the Constitution. 

Why did not Azaiia resign in 1938 when Communist domination 
became, under Negrin, an obvious reality? For the same reason that he 
had not resigned in 1936: pressure was brought to bear against him by 
various factions, this time especially by Indalecio Prieto with whom 
Azana was always in close contact, as well as by the puppets of Moscow, 
previously Largo Caballero and now Negrin and Negrin's followers. 
For propaganda purposes at home and abroad, Azana was still useful 
to both factions as the personification of a democratic Spain. Azana 
in fact still lived with his fetish of legality and constitutionality, which 
from the start of the war he had reiterated to be the Republic's principal 
weapon and only hope of survival as a democracy, if by some chance 
the Loyalists did finally emerge victorious. The Cortes, already emascu- 
lated by 1938, was no longer the democratic symbol of former times, 
so the office of President remained in reality the only vestige of highly 
placed Republican legality. If the President were to resign voluntarily 
while a negotiated armistice was still possible, the responsibility for 
the end of the Republic could be laid at his door. Whatever the 
motivation, Manuel Azana was still President when Barcelona fell on 
January 26, 1939. 

The President and the rest of the Loyalist government were trapped 
in the fall of Catalonia. The main escape route was the Barcelona- 
Gerona-Figueras highway to the French border, where the national 
boundary bisects the town of Le Perthus, twenty-four kilometers north 

Main route of the exodus from Catalonia. 




The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

of Figueras. The road of the exodus of 1939 is the tourist highway of 
today, with signs in three or four languages, a plague of billboards, 
copious roadside lodging, and every kind of tourist service for the 
occupants of the foreign cars which speed along on a pavement that 
still leaves much to be desired. Figueras, dominating the flat farm 
land of the Llobregat River valley, became the improvised capital of 
the Loyalist government. North of Figueras the highway leaves the 
valley to traverse higher areas of oak and cork forests. Less than seven 
kilometers from the border the road passes through La Junquera, now 
the last tourist-goods stop (cheap pottery and reed purses) for French 
vacationers returning from the Costa Brava. On an unpaved side road 
near La Junquera, and respectively three and nine kilometers from 
the main highway, are the isolated villages of La Agullana and La Bajol 
(variantly spelled La Vajol). Less than ten kilometers from Figueras 
in another direction is Perelada, site of an old castle. Such obscure 
names as these, unnoticed by the traveler of today, provided the setting 
for the dramatic finale of the events of 1939 in Catalonia. 

According to the Constitution, the Cortes was to go into session 
on October 1 and February 1 of each year. There in Figueras in the 
cavernous cellars of the historic Castillo de San Fernando, in a room 
formerly used as a stable, but now conveniently safe from bombs, on 
February 1 at about 10:30 P.M. Martinez Barrio (still the presiding 
officer of the Cortes) called to order the last meeting of the Republican 
Cortes in Spain. 9 He began by reminding the deputies of the historic 
and honorable nature of that final convocation of the people's repre- 
sentatives. Easily sentimentalized as the inspiring spectacle of de- 
mocracy *s last stand, the session convoked by Negrin on February 1 

9 Located on a lull overlooldng Figueras, the Castillo de San Fernando would be an 
interesting tourist attraction nowadays, but with characteristic prudence Franco has fore- 
seen that it might also be a shrine of martyrdom. The castle, therefore, is now a military 
post, with no admittance to civilians. 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

"according to the Constitution" was indeed laden with emotion, but 
it was also a convenient cloak for Negrm's unconstitutionality of the 
last six months* Except for reasons of sentiment and propaganda, why 
otherwise should the Cortes meet at such a time when it had been 
inactive since its last session on September 30 (one day early), 1938, 
when it had met briefly at the monastery of San Cugat del Valles? 
And what affairs could those no less than fifty-six nor more than sixty- 
two (statements vary on the exact number present) of an original 473 
deputies resolve at that critical juncture when all was confusion? 
Azana for one, always the realist, did not attend, "to his eternal dis- 
grace," wrote Herbert Matthews, intimating cowardice. 

Actually this meeting of the deputies of the Cortes, whose bags 
were already packed, exemplified the main weakness of the Republic 
since its inception. The weakness was a zeal for oratory, organizations, 
meetings, and ineffectual lawmaking, rather than for action. Here 
while the Rebel airplanes strafed the escape routes, teeming with 
refugees, Negrin addressed a long speech to the mock Cortes in formal 
style and was rewarded by a vote of confidence. He had always been 
a poor speaker. On this occasion his talk was even more disjointed, 
especially the extemporaneous portion. He was a tired man, wholly 
exhausted from the strain of events. In his harangue he reasserted 
the legitimacy of the Republican government, whose own vote of 
confidence he observed to be symbolized by the flight of the civilian 
population from areas about to fall into Nationalist hands. He reviewed 
the whole military and civilian situation. He spoke at length on the 
refugee problem, which, till then, the French had refused to act upon. 
But the two most significant parts of Negrin's speech were (1) the 
decision to fight on in the Central Zone if Catalonia should fall, and 
(2) his Three Points for negotiating a peace, which represented an 
abridgment of his previous Thirteen Points. The Three Points were 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

a guarantee of Spain's independence, a similar guarantee that the 
people would decide the government, and a guarantee against reprisals. 
The Three Points made no more impression than Azana s three P's. 
Franco continued to demand, and did soon achieve, unconditional 

Figueras was a nightmare. Jampacked with military and civilian 
officialdom, the town was bombed repeatedly by enemy aviation. The 
government was in utter confusion. The Castle lacked adequate 
electricity, and there were only a few telephones, not to mention the 
shortage of facilities for such basic things as bathing and natural 
functions. At night people slept on the stairways and in nearly every 
corridor; even this was preferable to the cold outside. Meanwhile an 
estimated four hundred thousand to one-half million refugees clogged 
the road northward from Figueras, hoping somehow to reach France. 
Old women, hysterical mothers, screaming children, wounded soldiers 
without medical attention it was a spectacle of chaos that no eye- 
witness has ever found adequate words to describe fully. To the 
credit of the remaining Republican forces, defeated and physically 
spent, they managed to cover the retreat sufficiently well so that nearly 
everybody got out who wanted to get out. With streams of refugees 
pouring over the mountains everywhere, France finally had to face 
up to a situation that had become uncontrollable. By negotiation the 
border at Le Perthus was at last officially opened at 4:30 P.M. on 
February 5. A human tide surged past the Senegalese French border 
guards into France. Inundated, the best that France could offer was 
improvised concentration camps, whose unspeakable conditions later 
influenced many refugees to return to Nationalist Spain despite the 
reprisals that awaited them. But that is another story. 

Azafta and all the high officials of the Republican government were 
in or near Figueras as the enemy approached. Prime Minister Negrin 
was lodged in a farmhouse in the vicinity of La Agullana. President 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Azafia and his retinue had moved into the Castillo de Perelada, whose 
occupancy they had to share with paintings from the Prado stored in 
that castle prior to their removal to France and Switzerland. (Later 
Azafia saw the same collection on exhibition in Geneva.) Negrin 
visited Azafia there in Perelada before February 4, the date that the 
seat of government activity had to be evacuated from the Castillo de 
San Fernando in Figueras to if the Loyalists could be said to have a 
capital any longer La Bajol, in whose neighboring talc mines part of 
the government gold had been stored during the war. Azafia had 
moved to La Bajol before the fall of Figueras. Part way up a mountain 
is the sleepy village of La Agullana, whence a miserable road continues 
to the dead-end mountain top of La Bajol, an isolated settlement of a 
few dozen squalid dwellings and their few dozen wretched inhabitants, 
whose only earthly blessing must be the invigorating air and magnifi- 
cent view. A rifle aimed northward from La Bajol would land a bullet 
in France. 

One of the Presidential household who repaired to La Bajol was 
friend and brother-in-law Cipriano Rivas Cherif . A few weeks before 
the elections of February 16, 1936, Rivas Cherif and his wife had 
taken a theatrical company to Cuba and Mexico, having left their 
children to be cared for in Madrid. The youngest of the children 
went to live with the Azafias at the Casa del Principe when Manuel 
Azafia became President. Rivas Cherif heard the news of the uprising 
as he was boarding the "Cristobal Colon" for Spain on July 18. Because 
of the events the ship changed course and went to Le Havre. From 
there he and his wife returned to Madrid via Paris, Barcelona, and 
Valencia. Don Cipriano had wanted to be Chief Propagandist for the 
wartime Republic but was offered instead the ambassadorship to 
Belgium. This he declined, preferring to become Consul General in 
Geneva, where his predecessor had deserted. In the spring of 1938 
Rivas Cherif was removed from the consular post (more about this 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

in the next chapter) and made official Introductor de Embajadores 
(Introducer of Ambassadors), a kind of receptionist of state and assist- 
ant to the President. This sinecure (in those times) put Don Cipriano 
under the Presidential roof and reunited the two friends on the farm 
near Tarrasa. Though Rivas Cherif s family remained in France, he 
too was to live midst the paintings in Perelada and accompany Azana 
and his wife up to the mountain top of La Bajol. 

The Presidential household moved from Perelada to La Bajol in 
a truck, supplied by General Rojo (Chief of Staff), and spent part 
of the first night in the open. La Bajol was cold, very cold. As Sra. 
de Azana alighted from the truck she sprained her ankle painfully 
enough to increase the difficulty of the hike to France a few days later. 
The President finally found a warm hearth in La Bajol and on the 
next day was visited by Martinez Barrio and Luis Companys. Sub- 
sequently Negrin arrived with Alvarez del Vayo, Giral (then Minister 
without Portfolio), and again Martinez Barrio. At this second meeting 
Azana echoed the opinion of General Rojo that it was pointless to go 
on fighting. Negrin, who must have concurred inwardly, would not 
let himself be convinced outwardly. As a result of their talk it was 
agreed that the Presidential party would pass over into France early 
the next morning on foot, two official cars and one personally owned 
Ford 10 to be loaded with personal effects and sent that same day to 
France, where the cars would pick up the party on the following 
morning. The truth is that Azana did not join the mainstream to 
Le Perthus because he feared for his life. It has been said and who 
knows with what veracity? that the President refused the use of an 
airplane because he feared that Negrin might fly him back to the 

10 Some Mends had given Azana a Ford in 1933 when lie ceased to Le Prime Minister 
and no longer had a government car at his disposal. After Azana finally resigned the 
Presidency, and thus again lost the official limousines, he and Rivas Cherif used the Ford 
a great deal in France. 


The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 

Central Zone against his wishes. At any rate, the plan for die next 
morning was that Negrin would come to see the President safely 
across the border, whence, it was further agreed, Azana would go 
to the Spanish embassy in Paris. There the President hoped to work 
through diplomatic channels to achieve a favorable peace. This was 
his only reason for not having resigned as soon as he reached France. 

Accordingly Azaiia and his party (including Sra. de Azaiia, Rivas 
Cherif, Giral, Martinez Barrio, some army officers and bodyguards, 
a couple relatives, plus Epifanio the cook and Antonio the valet) were 
met by Negrin the next morning and started out from La Bajol while 
it was still dark, the border guards having been advised to expect them 
and allow them to pass. The group took the mountain path to Les 
Illes and walked into France just before dawn on Sunday morning, 
February 5. The cars were waiting and took the group to Le Boulou 
and then to Perpignan. The President remarked that he felt as if 
he had lived the first act of his play, La corona, wherein is pictured the 
end of a civil war, as Lorenzo and Diana are fleeing in the mountains. 

After Azana and Negrin had said their goodbye at Les Illes it was 
their next-to-last meeting Negrin walked back to Spain by the same 
path. As Negrin told others later, the surprise was mutual when he 
met Luis Companys and Jose Antonio de Aguirre, 11 the Catalonian 
and Basque Presidents, respectively, on their way out too. Negrin's 
reaction was supposed to have been one of disgust mixed with a feeling 
of good riddance. Some of the principals involved tell a different story. 
Angel Ossorio, who was in that second retinue, affirms that their 
departure was authorized by Negrin on February 4 and that Azana 
was to go with them, but that Azana left earlier than the prearranged 

11 Companys was apprehended later, tried by Nationalist court martial, and executed in 
October of 1940. Zugazagoitia fell victim to the same fate, Aguirre finally made his way 
to New York, where in 1941 he was appointed Lecturer in Spanish History and Law at 
Columbia University. With the liberation of France, Aguirre returned to Paris, where he 
died of a heart ailment on March 22, I960, at the age of 56. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Lour of 8:00 A.M. on February 5. 12 Whether by Negrin's oversight or 
by his intention or by their own unilateral action in leaving as they 
did, this second caravan was not expected by the French border guards 
at Les Hies and could not enter France until the following day, when 
their papers were finally accepted. 

On February 8 Negrin and the remaining Loyalists were bombed 
out of La Bajol, which was then abandoned. Negrin and what was 
left of the government installed themselves in the last dwellings on the 
Spanish side of Le Perthus until it was unsafe to stay any longer. 
With emotions ill concealed, they watched the last Loyalist troops 
march into France. Rebel forces entered the Spanish section of Le 
Perthus a few minutes before 2:00 P.M. on February 9 and ran up 
their flag moments later. Less than three hours before, Negrin and 
his cortege had crossed the bridge into the French side of Le Perthus. 
From there Negrin went by auto to Toulouse. Apparently he did not 
leave any specific instructions with his generals or ministers, most 
of whom were still in France, when that same night of February 9 
he flew from Toulouse back to the Central Zone with his Minister of 
State, Julio Alvarez del Vayo. During the last days of the retreat, 
Alvarez del Vayo had acted as messenger between the government 
and its consulate at Perpignan and, for all to see, had sped back and 
forth across the border in a big limousine while Azana, the President 
of the Republic, was making plans to pass on foot unnoticed over the 

Manuel Azana left the Republic as he had entered it obscurely. 
He never saw Spain again. Inasmuch as he had never disguised his 
feelings about the war, it was to his credit that he remained until the 
end of Catalonia, which might have been the end of the war. 

12 Angel Ossorio y Gallardo, Vtia y saenfrdo de Comyanys (Buenos Aires, 1943), 
pp. 254-55, 



Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO SPAIN, Jules Henry, had set up his 
quarters in Perpignan and was urging the Loyalist government to 
surrender. On February 2 Henry had gone to Figueras and received 
an obstinate negative from Negrin and Alvarez del Vayo. As Azafia s 
sentiments were known, it was not hard for him to arrange with 
Henry that, given a couple days rest, he, the President, should go to 
the Spanish embassy in Paris in order to seek a more advantageous 
truce through diplomatic channels, the plan to which Negrin had 
acquiesced before the President left Spain. 

The somber party came through Perpignan early on Sunday morning 
of February 5 en route to a chalet that Rivas Cherif had rented (and 
where his family had been staying) in Collonges-sous-Saleve, a French 
hamlet on the edge of the Alps, close to Geneva and the Swiss frontier. 
The group ate a late supper in Montpellier and spent the night of 
February 5 in Nimes before they reached their destination the next 
afternoon. Very soon after the group's arrival in Collonges, where 
they were met by the mayor, Azaiia established contact by telephone 
with various individuals of the Loyalist cabinet and then phoned the 
embassy in Paris. One of his party, former Prime Minister Jose Giral, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

went to Paris to the embassy on February 6. (On February 7, the 
New York Times published an Associated Press dispatch to the effect 
that Azaiia was staying with his brother-in-law, Alejandro [sic] Rivas 
Cheriff [sic], and printed a direct quotation from Azana's nonexistent 
daughter!) Having received permission to enter Switzerland, Azana 
and Rivas Cherif left for Paris via Geneva the night of February 8. 
The next day the President arrived in the French capital, where he was 
to remain at the Spanish embassy in the more or less constant company 
of Rivas Cherif, Jose Giral, and General Hernandez Sarabia until 
nearly the end of February. 

The New York Times had given Azana one of its unaccustomed 
headlines on February 6. After February 9, dailies everywhere carried, 
as front-page news, rumors that Azaiia was planning to resign, but the 
other Spanish War news varied a great deal according to whose dis- 
patches one read. Each faction of the Spanish government the Azana 
realists and the Negrin die-hards thought itself to be doing what was 
right and best. The controversy about how and when the war should 
have ended continues even today among the exiles in America and 

As Azana was arriving in Paris on February 9, the Rebel army 
reached Le Perthus. The next day the whole of the French frontier 
was thought to have been occupied, and the official end of Catalonia 
was reported in the press. Sizable numbers of Loyalist troops continued 
for some time, however, to hold isolated villages and conduct guerrilla 
warfare in the high mountains. 

Back in the Central Zone, resistance continued even though the 
land. area of the Zone comprised only about one-third that of Spain. 
Valencia held and so did Madrid, although Madrid was starving. To 
give them their due, Negrin and Alvarez del Vayo showed courage in 
returning to what was left of Loyalist Spain. There they intended to 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

play for time and the European war, a course of action that Azafia 
had so often deplored. The chance that a general European war 
would save the Spanish Republic at the last moment was Negrin s 
real reason for refusing to surrender when the hopelessness of the 
Loyalist situation became manifest. 

On February 14, Germans rejoiced at the launching of the battle- 
ship "Bismarck/' Over in Paris, Azafia was consulting with various 
persons at the Spanish embassy and attempting to use the good offices 
of France and England to arrange a cease-fire in Spain that would 
guarantee no reprisals. Azafia's days at the embassy were not easy 
ones. He felt abandoned by Negrin, whose support he needed at the 
embassy, while at the same time Negrin and Alvarez del Vayo back 
in Spain felt that Azafia had deserted them. The President had to 
suffer also the slights and even insults of the subordinate personnel 
of the embassy who, because they had relatives still fighting in Spain, 
resented his presence there in the embassy. The ambassador himself, 
Marcelino Pascua, frowned upon the President's coming to the embassy 
and avoided him as much as possible. 

On February 15, the Spanish President had an unexpected visitor at 
the embassy, Alvarez del Vayo, who had flown in from Madrid to try 
to persuade Azafia to return to Spain. Azafia refused, of course, and 
for this refusal Alvarez del Vayo takes him stoutly to task in his two 
books on the Spanish Civil War. 1 Azafia declined to return for 
precisely the same reason that his return was demanded: his repatria- 
tion might help prolong the war. Perhaps too the President would 
not have entrusted his life to Negrin and Alvarez del Vayo, once he 
were in Spain, for any reason other than to officiate at the signing of 
a peace treaty, for which his presence could conceivably be necessary. 

i freedom's Bffik (London, Toronto, and New York, 1940) and The Last 
(London and New York, 1950). 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

No such settlement was imminent, despite subsequent efforts of all 
factions of the Republican government in and out of Spain, for Franco 
was then on the doorstep of victory and had even less reason to alter 
his demand for unconditional surrender. It seemed that nearly every- 
body of importance was in Paris Azana and his intimates, Basque 
President Aguirre, Catalonian President Companys, Martinez Barrio 
(still President of the Cortes), and most of the surviving Cortes itself 
and none would go back to Spain to resume the puppet role which 
he had played during the last year in the interest of the common 
cause. That cause no longer had purpose; and continued warfare 
seemed irrational, because the people, starved and defenseless, did not 
want it. 

The meeting between Alvarez del Vayo and Azana was said to have 
been bitter, particularly in view of Azana's undisguised receptiveness 
to any measure that might end hostilities, even to the possibility of a 
Presidential appeal to Republicans to defy Negrin and lay down their 
arms. The disaccord of this meeting and Azafia's formal resignation of 
the Presidency, later in the month, gave rise to epithets of "coward" 
and "deserter * by the Communists and the Francoists alike. Azana 
was to become the scapegoat, for many of the fanatics on both sides 
failed to see clearly the political and military realities of the situation. 

A considerable literature dedicated to the vilification of Azaiia's 
character, by his so-called fellow Republicans, appeared in print after 
the war in short-book or pamphlet form. A couple typical titles are 
Azana. Combatiente en la yaz. Patifista en la guerra (by Felipe Alaiz, 
Toulouse, n.d.) and Desyues de la tragedia: La traidon del senor Azana 
(by Jacinto Toryho, New York, 1939, printed in Cuba). These two 
diatribes describe Azana as a megalomaniac, an anti-revolutionary, a 
coward, deserter, defeatist, a haughty, decadent Narcissus, and a thief. 
Perhaps the worst of all is that anyone should call this honorable man 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

a thief, and say that he left Spain with millions in the bank. The 
truth is that when Azafia died in France, the Mexican government 
had to pay for the funeral; and from a personal knowledge, I can attest 
to the reduced circumstances of Azana's widow today. Except for the 
Francoist-backed literature on the Republic, which accuses Azana of 
everything, the diatribe by Toryho is one of very few commentaries of 
Republican origin that charge Azana with financial dishonesty. Azana's 
Republican opponents even on the highest levels of government would 
have admitted that honesty was his supreme attribute. 

One particularly odious little book of very bad defamatory poetry is 
sufficient to demonstrate clearly the depth of degradation to which the 
memory of the Spanish President, and others, has been subjected in 
print. Entitled simply Guerra civil, and composed by a certain Garcia 
Pradas, its 5,038 copies were printed at Vesoul (France) in 1947. The 
bitter poet, or poetaster, levels his barrage at all the enemies of the 
Republic, as he sees them. In a preliminary section he calls Azana a 
'Vile type/' who was as much a traitor as Franco, and a coward. These 
four stanzas, entitled "Epitafio a un deserter," refer to Azana, whom 
they characterize as having betrayed himself and his people, a vain 
incompetent so consumed during his lifetime by rancor and envy that 
he has cheated the appetite of the worms in his grave, who spit on him: 

Aqui yace, si en paz esta consigo, 
quien murio de si mismo envenenado 
cuando, al ser por su pluma desplumado, 
su vergiienza busco en la fosa abrigo, 

Con sonar de su pueblo ser ombligo, 
ue el tiro a la barriga su dictado, 
y, en publico su excelso magistrado, 
fue, a escondidas, su mas vil enemigo. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Saltamonte de intentos en fracaso, 

con la [sic] patas de atras marco su paso 

y temblo aun del Poder en la alta cima. 

De rencores y envidias carcomido, 

bien poco que comer aqui ha traido 

y eso es tal, que el gusano escupe encima. 

To resume the narrative, Alvarez del Vayo went back to Spain with 
mission unaccomplished. Azana, the man on whom (as the poet said) 
even a worm spits, stayed on in Paris, England and France had sent 
mediators to Burgos (Franco's capital); both Prime Minister Neville 
Chamberlain and Premier Edouard Daladier were preparing their re- 
spective peoples for a de jure recognition of Franco without conditions. 
Azana was aware that Chamberlain and Daladier wanted him to resign 
first, so that they could claim their action to be the result, rather than 
the cause, of his action. When this recognition was imminent, twenty- 
some lesser powers having already recognized the Franco regime, Azana 
made a decision. At about 10:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 26, 
Manuel Azana picked up a terminal payment of salary and walked 
out of the Spanish embassy for the last time. For those who like 
symbolism, it was reported that an unusually large falling star dropped 
westward across the sky as he left the embassy and headed for the 
Gare de Lyon, to which Jose Giral, 2 Victoria Kent, and a few others 
had come to bid farewell to their President as he and Rivas Cherif 
boarded a train for Geneva. 

2 Jose Giral died December 23, 1962, in Mexico City. In accordance with his wishes, 
no public announcement of his death was made, not even to Spanish Republican organi- 
zations in exile, and he was buried without crucifix, rites, or speeches. Somehow the news 
o his death spread quickly, because hundreds of friends came to render silent homage to 
the ex-Prime Minister as his bier, covered with a large Republican flag, was lowered into 
Mexican soil. 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

The press did not know how to interpret Azana's departure. At first 
it was thought he had resigned; there was talk of his having left a 
letter in the embassy. It seems, however, that Azana was waiting for 
what did in fact tecome the formal recognition of the new regime by 
France and England on the next day, the twenty-seventh. Accordingly, 
back in Collonges, where he had arrived that morning, Azaiia then 
drafted a letter of resignation without delay, his answer to a telegram 
just arrived from Negrin exhorting him to return to Spain. Azana had 
postponed his resignation until the last legal prop in France, the 
Spanish embassy in Paris, was pulled from under him, though he must 
have resigned mentally after Negrin went back to Spain and appointed 
a Communist government. 

The actual communication of resignation was in the form of a tele- 
gram to Jose Giral, addressed to him at 6 Rue du Chatillon, 4 gauche, 
to be transmitted to the President of the Cortes, Diego Martinez Barrio, 
at 89 Avenue Neuilly. Azana sent the telegram from Collonges-sous- 
Saleve on his tenth wedding anniversary, February 27, 1939. He com- 
posed it on the notebook paper of his godson, Enrique (son of Rivas 
Cherif), who is today a Mexican citizen, a Ph.D. in Spanish from the 
University of California, and was an instructor in Spanish literature at 
Mexico City College. 

The letter of resignation of the Presidency was Azana's last official 
act in the service of the Spanish Republic. Had he lived, his influence 
might have been a cohesive force for unifying the Republicans in exile 
in Europe and the Americas. Succinct in its details, yet character- 
istically rotund in its phrasing, a model of decorum (as one would 
expect of Azana), the letter is more than a resignation; it is a statement 
of self-justification, but a document lacking in words of gratitude to 
anyone, I have translated the following text directly from the original: 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Since the Chief of Staff charged with the direction of military opera- 
tions informed me in the presence of the Prime Minister that the war 
was hopelessly lost to the Republic, a defeat in anticipation of which 
the government counseled and organized my departure from Spain, I 
have done my duty of recommending and proposing to the Govern- 
ment in the person of its Head, the immediate conclusion of a peace 
under humane conditions, in order to spare the defenders of the 
regime and the whole country new and sterile sacrifices. To that end 
I have worked personally as far as my limited means of action permit. 
I have attained no positive results. The recognition of a legal govern- 
ment in Burgos by the powers, specifically France and England, 
deprives me of the international legal representation necessary to com- 
municate to foreign governments, with the official authority of my 
office, what is not only a dictate of my conscience as a Spaniard, but 
the profound yearning of the immense majority of our people. With 
the disappearance of the political apparatus of state the Cortes, high 
party representation, etc. I lack, inside Spain and out, the organs of 
counsel and action indispensable to the presidential function of guid- 
ing governmental activity in the manner that circumstances imperi- 
ously demand. Under such conditions it is impossible for me to retain, 
even nominally, a post which I did not resign on the very day of my 
departure from Spain because I was hoping to utilize this lapse of time 
advantageously to work for peace. 

I place, then, in the hands of Your Excellency, as President of the 
Cortes, my resignation as President of the Republic, so that you may 
see it through the proper legal steps. 

Manuel Azafia 
February 27, 1939 

The next day die Franco-controlled press shouted "coward/' not only 
because of the resignation itself, but equally because the resignation did 
not emanate from Spain. Manuel Azana, however, was conscious of 
legality to the end: when he had nothing left to represent, he resigned, 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

and with the concluding exhortation that legal procedure be given to 
his resignation! 

According to Article 74 of the Constitution, the President of the 
Cortes had to assume the interim Presidency of the Republic until the 
Cortes could take action on the resignation with at least one hundred 
deputies present. Such a quorum of the Cortes was quite impossible, 
with most of its deputies either dead or scattered to the four winds, but 
Martinez Barrio did what he could. He rang up all the deputies avail- 
able in Paris and managed to assemble sixteen of the people's repre- 
sentatives at the Laperouse restaurant on the Quai des Grands- 
Augustins. One of those who attended, Zugazagoitia, described the 
gastronomic order of the day as being by far more pleasant than the 
political one. 

It has been reported inaccurately that Martinez Barrio refused out- 
right to accept the interim Presidency. This is not the whole truth, 
even though by that time it made little difference who was President. 
Martinez Barrio was disposed to accept the post, as the group wanted 
him to, but only if he were given authority to end the war. His offer 
included a willingness to return in person to the Central Zone, pro- 
vided he were assured freedom of action to carry out the authority that 
he demanded. All of this he telegraphed to Negrin and expected an 
early reply. No answer was ever given, though it is known that Negrin 
received the communication. 

A few days later, on March 6, the group of deputies in Paris met 
again. Without a reply from Negrin, Martinez Barrio refused to act 
further. A governmenrin-exile was revived after the Franco victory, 
and still exists today with headquarters in Paris, but technically the 
Presidency of the Spanish Republic ended with the demurral of 
Martinez Barrio. In 1945, however, Martinez Barrio did allow himself 
finally to be confirmed in the Presidency by the remaining (but fewer 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

titan the quorum stipulated by the Constitution) members of the 
Cortes-in-exile meeting in Mexico City; and he was still President 
when he died of a heart attack in Paris on January 1, 1962, at the age 
of 78. 3 

Affairs back in the Central Zone were becoming more and more 
complicated. A situation developed which is not wholly clear even 
today, and which may have accounted for Negrin's inattention to 
Martinez Barrio. Negrin had problems more serious than the replace- 
ment of Azana. 

On March 1, Colonel Segismundo Casado, who commanded the 
Central army around Madrid, reviewed with Negrin the desperate 
nature of the military and civil situation, A few days later the army 
commanders met with Negrin near AJbacete. In these talks, only 
Negrin and General Miaja favored a continuance of the war. General 
Miaja, it will be remembered, had been entrusted with the defense of 
Madrid early in the war after the withdrawal of the government from 
Madrid. Miaja had retained that command throughout the war and 
now was Commander in Chief of all Republican military forces. 

On March 5, the remnants of the Republican navy revolted and put 
out to sea from Cartagena, while the honorable but till then unenter- 
prising Colonel Casado attempted to set up a government in opposition 
to the Communist one. For this initiative, Casado was branded a 
traitor by Herbert Matthews and other writers. With victory impos- 
sible, Casado's aim was to end the war. With Julian Besteiro (another 
honest man) as the chief civilian, and Casado himself soon replaced 
by Miajaas the military leader, this self-declared government called 

3 With the death of Martinez Barrio, the next in line for the Presidency of the Republic 
is the first vice president of the Cortes elected in 1936, the Socialist Luis Jimenez Asua. 
Though he prefers not to call himself President, he acts as such. Otherwise the empty 
chair would go automatically to the Communist Dolores Ibarrari, la Vasiowria. 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

itself the Junta de Defensa de Madrid (the Madrid Council of De- 
fense). The fact that Miaja finally saw fit to join the coup ought to 
exonerate Casado and demonstrate that .continued warfare was point- 
less. Since there was neither Cortes nor President, the Junta's claim 
to leadership was as good as Negrin's. When the Junta ordered the 
arrest of Negrin, he escaped by airplane with Alvarez del Vayo and a 
few dissident officers. 4 

By March 12, the Communists had lost power completely to the 
new Junta, whose representatives were received at the Nationalist 
capital of Burgos. No concessions were forthcoming. Instead Franco 
threatened a new offensive. After these facts had been broadcast by 
radio on March 26, there occurred, according to Colonel Casado, "what 
might be called the self-demobilization of the Republican Army, and 
it took place under such excellent conditions that in spite of the fact 
that 800,000 men were concerned, we did not have to regret one single 
act of violence, nor to contemplate the terrible sight of a disorderly 
retreat/' On March 27 Madrid was defenseless; on the twenty-eighth 
only the Guadalajara front was still manned, while Nationalist troops 
entered Madrid unopposed. Casado continues: ". . . on the morning 
of the 29th, practically all the armies were dissolved. At eleven o'clock 
I gave instructions for the surrender, a surrender which naturally could 
not be made because none of the fronts were garrisoned." This is how 
the Spanish Civil War ended. 

The only prominent Republican who by choice remained in Madrid 
to face the victors was Julian Besteiro, the old Socialist professor of 
logic and the first President of the Constituent Cortes. It was Besteiro 
whom Azafia had sent to England on the presumed peace mission in 
1937. Sixty-nine years old in 1939, and of delicate health, Besteiro 

4 See Colonel Casado's book, The Last Days of Madrid (London, 1939), for his 
explanation o these events, refuted by Alvarez del Vayo and others in their books. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

sacrificed himself in the role of final intermediary against reprisals. 
He knew well the risk involved: a Nationalist court-martial sentenced 
him to death. When this sentence was "commuted" to thirty years' 
imprisonment, Besteiro was confined to the prison-monastery of Car- 
mona, where he died September 27, 1940. On June 28, I960, his 
mortal remains were disinterred (the Spanish mania that Azana 
abhorred) and secretly brought from Carmona to rest in Madrid, near 
the graves of Pablo Iglesias and Francisco Giner de los Rios, as had 
been Besteiro's wish. 

It remains to be said only that if Casado had been able to time his 
coup better, during the debacle in Catalonia, the coup might have 
effected a change in morale to continue the war for some time, mainly 
because the army of the Central Zone was stronger than the one in 
the north. At least some of the materiel scattered about France could 
have been got to the central island of resistance, along with the non- 
Communist professional officers and leaders who wanted only assurance 
that their services would be used properly. Coming when it did, 
Casado s coup could have been aimed only at peace. 

Elsewhere in Europe, the German army was on the march. Hitler 
occupied Czechoslovakia on March 15, and on March 23 began pres- 
sure upon Poland to return Danzig and provide a corridor to East 
Prussia. Up in Collonges-sous-Saleve, as the story goes, the ex- 
President posed for reporters and photographers on the balcony of his 
residence on a very cold day following his resignation. He spent the 
month of March in Collonges, except the few days when he and Rivas 
Cherif journeyed over to Paris to find a publisher for La velada en 
Eenicarldy which they found, and for his memoirs, whose authorized 
publication was canceled by the German invasion of France. Azana 
had been besieged with lucrative offers to publish the Memorias while 


Exilt and Death, 1939-1940 

lie was at the embassy, but he considered their publication to be im- 
proper until he had resigned the Presidency. 

Azaiia kept a diary from 1931 through the years of the Republic 
and the war. Early in the Civil War he had given the books covering 
the first two years of the Republic to Rivas Cherif for safekeeping in 
Geneva, where Rivas Cherif was Spanish consul and secretary of the 
Spanish delegation to the League of Nations. One wonders how these 
two men, despite their intellectual interests and political convictions 
in common, were ever great friends. Although someone may object, 
the first analogy that comes to mind is (at least physically) Laurel and 
Hardy. On the basis of their differences in character, it was a case of 
attraction of unlike poles. Azaiia was slow of movement, aloof, unemo- 
tional (to appearances), taciturn, blunt, moody, and somewhat intro- 
verted; Rivas Cherif was suave, gay, sprightly, nervous, even flighty, 
and given to banter. Don Cipriano regretted that banter in Geneva 
when, basking in the reflected glory of his illustrious friend, he let his 
guardianship of a sensational diary be known, whereupon his vice- 
consul Antonio Espinosa contrived to steal two of the notebooks and 
use them as a passport to defection. Soon thereafter, certain portions 
of the memoirs appeared in Nationalist newspapers. The fact that they 
were handwritten left no doubt concerning the authenticity of the 
photographic reproductions. In a short time the content of these 
intimate papers became well known even among the Republican offi- 
cials, who had only to obtain and read a Nationalist newspaper. The 
theft of the memoirs weighed heavily on Azafia, and it was rumored 
that he had even suggested that a certain political prisoner in Republi- 
can hands be traded to the Nationalists in exchange for the two stolen 
notebooks. Whether this proposal was true or not, it bore no fruit, and 
Azafia had to endure the scandal, as well as the chilly treatment now 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

accorded him by Indalecio Prieto 5 and other Republican statesmen 
whom he had treated badly in the memoirs. 

Excerpts from the stolen portion of the diary were edited, with com- 
mentary, under the title Memorias intimas de Azana (see Chapter III, 
footnote one, above) and published in Madrid after the Civil War, 
as soon as the Nationalists controlled the printeries. The editor, 
Joaquin Arraras, has also written a book on Franco, a history of the 
Second Republic, and a work on the siege of the Alcazar in Toledo. 
Although the "intimate" Memorias are genuine, since photocopies of 
certain handwritten sheets accompany the printed version, the redactor 
had the advantage of reproducing, and with his own interpretations, 
only the paragraphs and sections which could conceivably suit the ends 
of his publisher the ruling regime. The main body of the Memorias 
foliticas y de guerra, guarded carefully all these years by Azana s dis- 
creet widow, will not suffer such a fate. Supposedly they are to be 
published with his complete works, and they may well reveal political 
aspects of the Spanish War which up to now have had to be surmised. 

Perhaps the loss of portions of the diary was not the only indiscretion 
of Rivas Cherif in Geneva, although he vehemently maintains his 
innocence of the following incident. In May of 1938, London news- 
papers published stories that Rivas Cherif had lent his support to, if 
not originated, a movement whereby certain Spanish American nations 
would act as intermediaries to arrange an armistice in Spain. Presum- 
ably this intercessional movement lacked the sanction of Negrin but 
had the full approval of Azana, for whom Rivas Cherif was supposedly 
acting. With or without Azana's endorsement, the brother-in-law was 
exceeding his authority by acting unilaterally without the knowledge 

5 After Laving written piolifically and worked tirelessly for Spanish Republican causes 
in exile, Indalecio Prieto died from a heart ailment on February 12, 1962, in Mexico City 
at the age of 79. 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

or consent of the government. The incident enraged not only the 
Spanish ambassador to Switzerland but, among others, Negrin himself, 
who was quoted as being disposed to incarcerate Rivas Cherif as soon 
as the latter returned to Republican Spain. When Negrin did, in fact, 
remove Rivas Cherif from his post in Geneva on account of this unau- 
thorized intrigue, Azafia took the dismissal of his friend as a personal 
affront and remonstrated violently with Negrin about the matter. 
Apparently the President's protection prevailed, and instead of going 
to prison Don Cipriano was made official Introductor de Embajadores. 
In this position Rivas Cherif succeeded none other than Amos Salva- 
dor, who in 1920 had helped Azana and Rivas Cherif to found their 
journal La pluma. Perhaps Azafia's singular weakness in government 
was his persistent protection of a small group of his friends; in the 
case of Rivas Cherif, it was a question of nepotism as well. 

After having resigned the Presidency on February 27, 1939, Azana 
continued to live in Collonges with his wife until a couple months 
after World War II broke out on September 1 of that year. He was 
completely out of the news during this time and until his death the 
following year. In the first place, Azana no longer held any official 
capacity, even had the Spanish War riot ended; secondly, the prelusive 
rumblings of World War II such as the Italian invasion of Albania 
(April 7), the German-Italian alliance (May 22), the German-Russian 
non-aggression pact (August 23), and finally the German invasion of 
Poland (September 1) stole the headlines from any residual interest 
in the Spanish exiles. Many thousands of those expatriates were 
grouped in frightful poverty and abandon, which many continue to 
suffer to this day, in the area of southern France roughly between 
Bordeaux and Perpignan, including Toulouse. 

Although Azana was living comfortably, the strain of the last three 
years had weakened him physically. His coloring had never been good, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azaria 

and on die occasion described as Azana's last interview, Lawrence 
Femsworth noticed that the former President was not a well man. On 
pages 236-39 of his recent book, Spain s Struggle for Freedom, Ferns- 
worth summarizes what was probably the last important statement that 
Azafia ever gave to the press, a statement that had never been published 
until Fernsworth's book came out in 1957. Fernsworth went over from 
Switzerland to ask Azaiia what really had occurred within the govern- 
ment during the very first stages of the rebellion. In the course of the 
interview Azana turned prophetic, predicting that the Falange would 
ultimately become corrupt and unpopular (which it has) 6 but that the 
army and the church would be "uppermost and have a good chance of 
holding on for a number of years because the people are more accus- 
tomed to that kind of combination. The generals and the bishops are 
again in the saddle Spain has gone back one hundred years/' Such 
was Azana's final public statement on the future of Spain, Since he 
was then a political exile in a foreign country, the ex-President did not 
want to be quoted publicly on political matters at that time, and 
Fernsworth kept the bargain. 

In November of 1939, two months after the European war had 
begun, the Azanas began their trek from Collonges through southern 
France. Originally they had thought of buying the chalet in Collonges, 
even though the house was not large enough for all of its occupants 
and visitors. After the outbreak of the European war, however, the 
Azanas imagined themselves to be in a dangerous zone and thought it 

6 "The Falange was accepted as the state party partly because it seemed the l>est bet 
for an authoritarian anti-Leftist military regime in an age of fascism. Franco conceived of 
the FET as the party of the state, but he never thought of his regime as a real party-state. 
The Falange, far from controlling the state, was no more than an instrument for holding 
the state together. Whenever its political pretensions threatened to disturb the internal 
equilibrium worked out by the Caudillo, he quickly cut the party down to size." Quoted 
from Stanley G. Payne, falange: A History of Spanish Fascism (Stanford, Calif., 1961), 
p. 200. 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

best to leave. (Ironically Collonges was completely spared by the war, 
as the area around Geneva represented the farthest German penetra- 
tion south on France's eastern frontier before the armistice of June 22, 
1940, and also the anchor of the line that was to demarcate unoccupied 
France after the armistice.) On the recommendation of a friend, the 
ex-President, accompanied by Rivas Cherif, journeyed to the environs 
of Bordeaux in mid-October to see about renting a house there* In 
Pyla-sur-Mer, a beach suburb of Arcachon near Bordeaux, they saw a 
house so appealing that they decided to pool their remaining capital 
and buy the place, since it could not be rented. While the local agent 
went to Paris to negotiate with the owner, the two friends stayed in 
the vicinity of Arcachon to enjoy the peace of the ocean, the sand 
dunes, and the pines, not to mention the mild climate, and to anticipate 
the privacy and safety of the rustic dwelling that would soon be their 
new home. 

The move to Arcachon in November was taxing, and there in Pyla- 
sur-Mer the ex-President began to look unwell. Physicians were sum- 
moned and diagnosed the cause of his difficult respiration and chest 
pains as a heart ailment. A photograph of Manuel Azaiia taken in 
Arcachon shows that he had lost a great deal of weight and seemed to 
be the image of death itself; most noticeably the proud look had 
vanished. Actually Azana had suffered from heart trouble for a long 
time without knowing (or admitting) his condition. Now, however, 
after various French heart-specialists had examined him and convinced 
him that the condition was serious, he began to limit his activity 
drastically, though he continued to receive occasional Spanish visitors. 

In February of 1940 Azana had a heart attack. Very close to death, 
he did not request any officiation of the church. Miraculously he 
recovered and by April was able to move about again. At that time 
Rivas Cherif began to think that the two families ought to try to obtain 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

passage to the New World. From his new post in Chile the former 
U.S. ambassador to the Republic, Claude Bowers, tried unsuccessfully 
to pull the right strings for them, but German troops were overrunning 
France and all was confusion. 

Midst the confusion Juan Negrin arrived unexpectedly at the Pyla- 
sur-Mer residence one night for a brief visit. He had come to offer 
the ex-President and nobody else but him a seat in a small boat that 
would take Azana, Negrin, and a few others to England that very 
night. Though Azana declined, he appreciated the offer and the last 
visit of the enigmatic Prime Minister, who, when he died at the end 
of 1956 in exile, sent to Franco the receipts for the Spanish gold that 
had been sent to Moscow during the Civil War. 

The German advance southward meant that the Franco police could 
not be far behind. When France capitulated, the terms of the armistice 
of June 22 designated the Bordeaux-Arcachon region as an occupied 
zone. The sympathetic local prefect, recognizing that Azana should 
leave the region, put an ambulance at the disposal of the sick man. 
Rivas Cherif and his family stayed in Pyla-sur-Mer, because Don 
Cipriano felt that the house should not be abandoned in those times, 
and perhaps also because he refused to believe that the German police 
and Spanish agents would arrest an ex-Introducer of Ambassadors. 

Accompanied by a Spanish physician the Azafias rode the ambulance 
first to the outskirts of Perigueux, where they stayed several days in a 
certain castle. Then they went south to Montauban, a provincial town 
of some thirty thousand inhabitants, north of Toulouse. The patient 
arrived exhausted at what became his last stop. 

Upper left: Azana, May, 1940, Arcachon, France. Center: The grave of Azana at 
Montauban. Lower right: The author, senora de Azana, and Don Cipriano Rivas Cherif, 
Mexico Gty, 1959. 


Exile and Deafh, 1939-1940 

In Montauban the ex-President survived for about five months, "bed- 
ridden, with his wife Dolores constantly at his side. They lived in a 
poor dwelling, but at least a shelter, obtained for them thanks to the 
kindness of Ricardo Gasset Alzugaray, deputy to the Cortes and Under- 
secretary of Communications. Jammed with refugees, Montauban was 
part of the unoccupied zone, controlled nominally by the collabora- 
tionist Petain government installed at Vichy by the Germans. One day 
Azafia received a visitor who was to play a significant role in the dying 
man's final weeks, Luis I. Rodriguez, the Mexican ambassador to 

Mexico, which to this day has no formal diplomatic ties with Franco 
Spain, was the Spanish Republic's staunchest friend during the Civil 
War, even though Mexican economic realities decreed that aid to the 
Republic be more in the form of moral support than materiel. After 
the war, Mexico threw open its doors wide to the Republican exiles, 7 
among them the widow of Manuel Azafia. On June 23, 1940, the day 
after die armistice in France, the Mexican government instructed 
Rodriguez to negotiate with Vichy an agreement whereby Mexico 
might assume responsibility for the Spanish refugees in unoccupied 
France. The object of this move was to forestall a probable Nazi pres- 
sure upon the Vichy government to extradite the refugees to Spain, 
at the insistence of Franco, so that the refugees could be forced to 
stand trial for war crimes. The Gestapo and Franco's agents made a 
number of arrests, then and later, in spite of the agreement that 
Rodriguez did obtain. 

One of those unfortunate "criminals" was Companys, former Presi- 
dent of Catalonia, who was taken back to Spain and executed. Another 
was Cipriano Rivas Cherif, who was arrested by German police and 

7 A good Look on the subject is Lois E. Smith's Mexico and tke S$mish Re 
(Berkeley, Calif., 1955). See also Mauricio Fresco's La emigration repulticaw 
(Mexico City, 1950). 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Spanish agents in Pyla-sur-Mer on July 10. The police confiscated 
the scant money and possessions of the Rivas Cherif family and shoved 
Don Cipriano into the jail at Pyla-sur-Mer. His wife and four children 
were ultimately released and allowed to leave France; they are in 
Mexico today. Don Cipriano was taken to the prison in Loin for two 
days. On the way from there to Madrid on July 13, his guards threat- 
ened to shoot him if he did not reveal the whereabouts of Azana and 
of an imaginary fortune in state funds with which the ex-President 
was supposed to have absconded. The prisoner had nothing to say. 
Incommunicado in his cell in Madrid, Rivas Cherif received no news 
of the outside world for three months. Finally on October 21 he stood 
trial with other "war criminals" and comported himself nobly. 8 The 
military tribunal sentenced him to death. While he was awaiting exe- 
cution, before foreign intervention helped to commute his death sen- 
tence to thirty years' imprisonment, on November 5 Cipriano heard a 
rumor of the death of Manuel Azana. Who can describe that moment? 
or the moment three days later when the rumor was confirmed as Don 
Cipriano was saying goodbye to Julian Zugazagoitia and Francisco 
Cruz Salido before their execution? In 1942 Don Cipriano was trans- 
ferred to the penal colony of El Dueso, in the province of Santander, 
where long periods of solitary confinement were not unknown to him. 
After having served seven years of the sentence, parts of which he 
described in an article penned in the jaunty style of an unbroken 
spirit, 9 he was released in 1947 and now resides in Mexico City. There 
he is reunited with his sister, Dolores Rivas Cherif, widow of Azana. 
We were saying that one of Azana s visitors in Montauban was Luis 
Rodriguez. After the latter had arrived in Montauban from Pau, two 

8 For interesting details of this trial, see Isabel de Palencia, Smouldering Freedom: The 
Story of the Spanish Republicans in Exile (New York and Toronto, 1945), p. 140. 
(There was also a London edition in 1946.) 

'"O'Neill in a Franco Prison,' 1 lUrica, Vol. IV, No. 4 (April 15, 1956). 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

former Loyalist officers, General Jose Riquelme and Colonel Arturo 
Mena, told Rodriguez of die whereabouts of Azana. and of his broken 
health. In his book Rodriguez describes the pathetic interview with 
Azana, 10 who received him effusively: "Here I am, my illustrious 
friend," he said deeply moved, "turned into a human scrap"; and, says 
Rodriguez, Azaiia's eyes became moist with tears. The two men talked 
for two hours, Azana relating his odyssey through southern France 
and concluding: "And now I find myself without roots, exposed to 
every contingency; dying, without connections or money, without 
prospects or tranquillity, forgotten by friends and pursued by enemies. 
In no one, outside of my wife, who resignedly stays on with me, do I 
find another generous spirit capable of succoring me. Luckily you are 
here; I was hoping for your arrival with the same desperation with 
which a criminal awaits his pardon." Behold Azana the suppliant, so 
ill that he speaks out of character (if Rodriguez's reconstruction of the 
conversation is accurate), having so far escaped from two wars only 
to be on the threshold of death in a shabby room in provincial Mon- 
tauban. After shaking what he described as a feverish hand, Luis 
Rodriguez set about the task of improving the sick man's circumstances. 
Rodriguez successfully petitioned the Mexican President to offer 
Azana asylum in the Mexican embassy in Vichy, as Franco agents were 
known to be in Montauban, Sra. de Azana was preparing to take her 
husband to Vichy when the local prefect decreed that they could not 
leave Montauban without an order from the French government, 
which was not forthcoming, so the Mexican emissary instead moved 
the Azanas on September 15 to better lodgings in the Hotel du Midi, 
an unpretentious provincial hotel but the best in Montauban. Ro- 
driguez drove the patient and his wife to their new lodgings, put their 
room under military and diplomatic guard, and left funds for the 

1 Ballet de sangre: La caida de Pranda (2d ed.; Mexico City, 1942), p. 212. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

ex-President's maintenance. The next day Rodriguez started off to 
Vichy for further negotiation but was called back, still en route, when 
Azana suffered another attack. Though this attack did not kill him, 
it left his speech impaired and his body partially paralyzed. 

Having heard of Azanas plight, General Hernandez Sarabia arrived 
in October to stay with his ex-President until the end. On October 15 
Azana's Spanish physician died unexpectedly. As late as the end of 
October, Sra. de Azana was still seeking authorization to take her 
husband to Vichy; all she could accomplish was a change of rooms in 
the hotel. Also at the end of October she read in a newspaper that her 
brother Cipriano had been condemned to death. Manuel Azana, who 
never learned this news, was to live but one week more. 

What may be the authentic version of his death has never been 
told, owing to the discreet refusal of Sra. de Azana to engage in post- 
mortem polemics. She is a gentle soul anyhow, unsuited for the type 
of public debate that distinguished her husband. Because only one 
version of his death has ever appeared in print, a legend has grown 
up which says that Azana died a penitent in the arms of the church. 
If this is so, then Azana's Garden of the Monks fooled many people, 
his professed religious dissociation was hypocrisy, or at best self- 
deception, and the Spanish Republic's most brilliant orator was not 
the unswerving man of principle that even his enemies took him to be. 
Because of the eminent position from which he voiced his well-known 
hostility toward the church, or rather toward the temporal power of the 
Spanish church, in his case confession and repentance would have 
been equivalent to a repudiation of the Republic. 

Despite the allegations of those who have criticized Azana, he was 
never really irreligious; he merely insisted upon a lay republic. He 
was the product of a period in Spanish life when a man of good 
conscience had to become a revolutionary in order to be a patriot, if 


ixile and Death, 1939-1940 

patriotism means the subordination of personal well-being to die wel- 
fare of the majority. All Spain knew Azana s sentiments. He owed 
most of his political success not to his stand against the church per se, 
but to his honesty. He sincerely believed that the monk, even the 
simple Christian preoccupied with his own salvation and the here- 
after, was an "anti-citizen." "Pure faith," reasoned Azana in El jardin 
de los frailes, "is unsociable; it is not useful in the republic, whose 
sovereignty it neither strengthens nor defends/' And what Spain 
needed most was responsible citizens. 

At bottom, Azana accepted the ethics of Christianity, He did not 
accept religious dogma or the Spanish church's intervention in public 
life in Spain. True, he was married by this church in 1929, according 
to custom and because his wife was a Catholic. Azana was also a 
good husband who lavished loving care and understanding on his 
Catholic wife while he lived. Even after the fall of Catalonia and 
Azana s escape from Spain, he used to take his wife to mass in France. 
Dona Dolores was then, and remains now, a practicing Catholic, He 
respected her convictions. She told me that she respected his until 
the end. 

The tens of thousands of Spanish Republicans-in-exile are getting 
old. Whatever happens in Spain, nevermore will they pick up where 
they left off. But must one not admire their pride in the past, even 
though time tends to exaggerate their accomplishments (because noth- 
ing was ever really so good as is our happy recollection of it)? What if 
they have been convinced that Azana, fugleman of the Republic, died 
repentant of his leadership and his pronouncements, of his and their 
lay Republic? Even more important, what will stand in the history 
books not those of Franco Spain (for a retaliatory government can 
scarcely fail to tell fishy stories about the big fish that got away, even 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

if only to die on the bottom), but the history books of a future Spain, 
or the histories of Spain published elsewhere today? 

The repentance of great criminals is one of the triumphs that the 
church reserves for itself, a triumph that seldom misses its effect on the 
popular mind, as Balzac once observed. Therefore maybe it is less to 
Azana's everlasting glory than to the church's own ends, as the church 
sees its duty, that a certain archbishop originated and circulated the 
tale (with or without the abetment of the Civil War victors) that 
Azana called for extreme unction and confession before his death. It 
is a question of one person's word against another, so proof either way 
is impossible. We shall see both versions: the "unfavorable" one, and 
the other one with which Sra. de Azana herself honored me. She was 
the only person who could know the facts as she described them to me, 
Without the slightest alteration or embellishment, they are herewith 
made public after more than two decades. But first the other version. 

Soon after Azana's death Spaniards, inside Spain and out, were 
asking one another, "Is it true that Azana confessed?" A story had 
been circulated which was then, and is now, treated by pro-Franco 
writers in a manner so casual as to preclude its being anything but an 
accepted fact to anyone. One example of how it has been handed 
down can be found in a recent (1956) biography of Franco (one of 
many) entitled Franco of Spain, by S. F. A. Coles. 11 After the author 
has called Azana a "pachydermous" homosexual earlier in the book, 
he refers to the death of the villain with these words (page 159): 

A compelling illustration of the innate Catholicism of the Spanish 
race was provided by Sefior Azana himself, an Enddopedista and 
professed atheist, under whose Presidency hundreds of churches and 

author demonstrates his gullibility and impropriety when on page 216, in a 
digression, He reverently cites a sensational fraud of a book, Hying, Saucers Have Landed, 
by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski. 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

religious houses were burned and thousands of priests and religious 
[sic] murdered. When he lay dying at Bayonne [this is a 185-mile 
geographical error, by road] in 1940 he sent for the Archbishop . . . 
made a full confession, received Extreme Unction, and died in the 
bosom of the traditional faith. 

The supposed voice of authority, however, was Eduardo Comin 
Colomer, whose "secret" history of the Republic has been cited above 
on page 117. A section of Volume II (pp. 450-53) on the death of 
Azafia gives the whole story, which may be summarized as follows: 

On October 17, 1940, Monsignor Theas, Bishop of Tarbes and 
Lourdes, had just arrived at the seat of Montauban and was told that 
Azana, quite ill, wanted to see him. The Bishop hastened to the Grand 
Hotel du Midi and went up to the room where Azana, his face 
anguished and livid, was in bed. Azafia said, "I wish to die within 
the Catholic church/' Convinced of his sincerity, the Bishop gave 
him his crucifix, which Azafia began to kiss saying, "fjesus, fiedad, 
misericordial }} Then Azana underwent confession, followed by the 
viaticum and extreme unction, although someone objected to the 
latter on the grounds that Azana was a heart patient. A few days 
later, the official account goes, Azafia had a civil burial. (It was more 
than a few daysseventeen plus if the Bishop confessed Azana on or 
immediately after October 17, as the historian implies, for Azana did 
not die until November 3.) 

The ecclesiastic who was involved did, in fact, sign a statement 
dated March 7, 1952, which confirmed the original report that had 
appeared in the Catholic Bulletin of Montauban, November 6, 1940. 
An English translation of the affidavit reads as follows: 

1. [Azafia] received in sound mind the Sacrament of Penitence, 
which I myself administered to him. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

2. When I asked Sra. de Azana's permission to administer the 
Viaticum to her husband I was certain that the sick man wanted to 
receive Communion. But I met with the obstinate refusal of N. [we 
do not know who this could be, and neither does Sra. de Azana] . Five 
times I presented myself, and five times I had to go away: 'That 
would affect him too much/' I was told. 

3. It was Sra. de Azana who sent for me at midnight to administer 
Extreme Unction to the sick man, who received it in extremis, but 
in fully sound mind. 

4. The Mexican consul, when he heard about this from Sra. de 
Azafia, arranged a civil burial for the president. The widow, after- 
wards, did not dare to protest, because Mexico was paying all the 
hotel expenses of the president and those who were with him. 

5. What had happened with certainty was that the president either 
had preserved or had found again a very intense Christian faith. 

Signed: Pierre Marie Theas, 

fiveque de Tarbes et de Lourdes 

All of this is surely possible, because it is not known that Azana was 
ever officially excommunicated from the church. Catholics who join 
Masonry are automatically excommunicated if they know the serious 
nature of their action, but not many people were aware that Azana 
had been initiated into Masonry. Even if he had been excommuni- 
cated, the absolution of a bishop was sufficient for reinstatement. 
In the eyes of the church, Azana had surely committed sins equally 
egregious as murder or adultery, but even the murderer is still a 
member of the church so long as he does not deny a doctrine of 
Catholic faith. 

After the Bishop had made his original statement in 1940, the 
account began to acquire embellishments as it passed from mouth to 
mouth. The tale even had a literary manifestation in the form of 
what is now a much-sought novel, an autographed copy of which came 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

into my hands some time ago. Written by Daniel de Bois-Juzan and 
published in 1949 by the Amiot-Dumont house of Paris, its 308 pages 
of libelous copy bear the title Celui qui fat Pedro Muiioz (The Late 
Pedro Muiioz). The publisher did not have to state in a note on the 
back cover that Pedro Munoz really lived and that he can be recog- 
nized as a contemporary statesman. It is without any doubt one man's 
version of the life of Azaria, its camouflage being only slight, and the 
whole "vie secrete' supposedly having been narrated to the author by 
an acquaintance of Azana whose identity is not revealed. I am told 
that the novel was very much discussed in France, probably among 
the exiles, while at the same time nearly the whole edition vanished 
as if by magic shortly after its appearance in the book shops. Although 
it was not a bad novel, its arrival was hardly a literary event; and it 
would be interesting to know who bought up the copies, if indeed 
they were removed from the market in this way. Most of the Spanish 
exiles in France have hardly two francs to rub together. As for Sra. de 
Azana, she expressed genuine surprise when I told her about the novel; 
besides, she was in Mexico at the time of its publication, and it would 
seem that she is scarcely in a financial position to defend her husband's 
honor by economic means. 

Although the events of Azana's life are easily discernible in the 
novel, one may disagree with their interpretation, with the motives or 
"secret life" behind diem, and most especially with the characterization 
of Azana. He is depicted as a "gargon aux amours faciles" He is an 
atheist with a blind faith in intelligence and an aimless, but consuming, 
ambition. He is a man who never really understands the people 
because he himself has never been hungry. We see the boy, then the 
student, the translator, writer, husband, prisoner, and statesman. As a 
semi-fictional creation this Pedro Muiioz, leader of men and govern- 
ments, is a kind of cross between Valle Inclan's Tirano Banderas and 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Pio Baroja's Silvestre Paradox; the whole work, in fact, is cast in the 
crisp style of Baroja. After Pedro Mufioz has consummated his anti- 
clerical programs, his military and agrarian reforms, and his plan for 
regional autonomy, he becomes President of the imaginary Republic 
of Turdenie, whose language, incidentally and conveniently is Span- 
ish. (With Turdenie, does the author have in mind Turdetania, that 
ancient region of Spain inhabited by turdetanos? The conversion of 
other names in the novel is less subtle. The Model Prison is the 
Modern Prison; Frente Popular becomes Frente Patriotico; Ciudad 
Leal is an imitation, but not a designation, of Ciudad Real; Pedro and 
Manuel are both bisyllabic; and Munoz and Azana both bear an nJ) 

Civil war comes to Turdenie. President Pedro Munoz sits down 
with his ministers, pistols on the table, to discuss strategy: offensive, 
defensive, war of position or of movement? Conditions deteriorate. 
Mufioz is spent, he who had assumed the Presidency as a refuge of 
solitude: "Degout, lassitude, il a perdu la foi en I'action meme, il 
laissera, de ce recoin, I'executif lutter, le legislatif palabrer." Finally 
this "historien avise, visionnaire inspire, pietre politique" is about to 
die, a total failure and this is the part that interests us. He is pictured 
on his death bed murmuring that Dulcinea does not exist. A priest is 
summoned: the Bishop. "Repent, my son," says the Bishop after he 
has administered the sacrament. With his eyes fixed on the Bishop, 
Pedro manages to mutter "Dulcinee nexiste . ..." as his last breath, 
whereupon the Bishop solemnly draws himself up and pronounces 
pardon: "The Peace of God be upon him, Don Quixote has confessed 
his error/* Then, as the ecclesiastic leaves the room, he pensively 
quotes Santa Teresa: "God, consider that we do not understand our- 
selves, and that we do not know what we want, and that we withdraw 
ourselves far from what we wish for/' 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

Now for a striking literary coincidence. If the events of Azana's play, 
La corona, anticipated his escape from Spain on foot over the moun- 
tains, the circumstances surrounding his death bore an even more ironic 
similarity to those of a jaunty little short story that he had published 
in the very first issue (June, 1920) of his review La pluma. Entitled 
"A las puertas del otro mundo" (At the Gates of the Other World), and 
perhaps the best of Azana's short fictional pieces, it depicts the decline 
and death of an aloof professor, a supposed intellectual like Azafia, 
who too (previous to 1920) was still enjoying his life of independence, 
contemplation, freedom from love and ambition. 

The professor had a public post; he had also been in the 1869-73 
Spanish Parliament as a member of an anti-Bourbon party. Afterward 
he had lived mostly with his books. "He did not go to mass; in the 
University and in the Academy he always voted with the opposition; 
he was held to be a man very much of the left." The young members 
of the Ateneo venerated him, although no one really knew him inti- 
mately. His spiritual life was a mystery. 

Old age and the approach of death took the professor by surprise* 
He could conceive of the world without him, but not of himself with- 
out the world. His health improved for a while during the last summer, 
as in the case of the real Azaiia, but with autumn he knew the end 
was in sight With death near, he became serenely resigned, much to 
the chagrin of his wife. She was shocked by that impassiveness which, 
to a religious woman, seemed simply pagan. In order to avoid any 
risk of being moved or seeming sentimental, the professor forbade all 
talk about preparing his soul He wanted only to be alone, in silence, 
"to count with melancholy the last beats of his heart," His wife, how- 
ever, "neither was able nor wanted to respect the constraint of the 
dying man/' After much thought, she remembered that her husband 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

tad been friendly with a certain priest, whom she at length summoned 
and introduced into the bedroom. The priest used all his professional 
wiles to extract a confession and reconciliation with the church, but 
the dying man stood his ground and took with him to the grave "the 
secret of his austerity/' The priest could only pray over the corpse. 

The church contested the professor's mortal remains with the free- 
thinkers. His will, however, called for a simple civil burial in an 
unmarked grave. Thus was the professor buried on a windy March 
day, but not before his adherents had snatched the coffin and taken 
it on a tour of his favorite places in town. With this ironical note, the 
little tale came to an end, ready-made for the real-life variations on the 

According to Sra. de Azana's version of her husband's death, at no 
time did she invite the Bishop to the hotel room. Neither did she 
encourage Soeur Ignace, the Sister of Charity (unmentioned in the 
Bishop's statement), who was the Bishop's coreligionist and who, 
according to Sra. de Azana, ingratiated herself into the events at the 
hotel by means of repeated calls and persistent offers to be of service. 
When the patient heard of the Sister's interest in him, he received 
her just as he received refugees and other friends, for he was bed- 
ridden and lonesome. To occupy himself Azana would also read the 
daily newspapers and, when he felt able, scribble a few more para- 
graphs of what was to remain his unfinished posthumous novel, 
Fresdeval, which is supposed to be included in his complete works 
when they are published/ 2 

12 Azana invented Fresdeval as a shortened form of "Fresdelval," the name of a 
crumbling monastery in northern Spain which he and Rivas Cherif had visited hefore the 
advent or the Republic. The plot of the novel, set in a nineteenth-century atmosphere, 
reportedly centers about events in three generations of a family that lives in the region of 
that monastery. 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

Gradually die calls of the Sister became excessive and unwelcome, 
the Sister having at first sought Sra. de Azana's diplomatic connections 
to aid the flight of certain Jewish families from fallen France. Even 
when the calls became bothersome, Dona Dolores* innate cordiality 
and courtesy prevailed. A Catholic herself, she would avoid rudeness 
to a representative of the church. 

Imagine the wife's plight when, already distraught with it all the 
flight from Spain, the retreat through France, the isolation, the lack 
of funds, their homeless state but for that dilapidated hotel, her hus- 
band sought by the police and quite obviously dyingin the midst of 
all this, she received word that her brother Cipriano had been taken 
and was condemned to death. (Azana himself probably would have 
been apprehended too, had not his death ended the vigil of the police.) 
At the moment Sra. de Azana's only immediate recourse to negotiation 
on behalf of her brother was to enlist the Bishop's help. Soeur Ignace 
took her to the Bishop, who obligingly composed two telegrams: one 
to Franco and another to Rome. Sra. de Azana herself dispatched the 
telegrams. As no reply had come from Spain by the next day, the 
Bishop called at the hotel. While he was there he talked for the first 
time with the sick man, who was unaware of the circumstances of the 
visit. By the time of another subsequent visit from the Bishop, Azafia 
was failing fast. In order to discourage callers Sra. de Azafia henceforth 
kept the door locked to all except Hernandez Sarabia and the servant 
Antonio, who had faithfully remained in service to the Azanas, 

Even before the end came, Manuel Azana scarcely recognized any- 
body and did not know what was happening. Sra. de Azana told me 
that neither she nor her dying husband requested any officiation of 
the church. If the rites were so administered and well they might 
have been, for Sra. de Azana found it hard to recount the last hours, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

so great were her grief and confusion Azana, semicomatose, was either 
unaware of what was occurring or he was powerless to oppose it. 13 

Manuel Azana's physicians said that the cause of death was an 
expanded heart, of the kind that some athletes are supposed to have. 
Here was a mental athlete, whose habitually pallid aspect always dis- 
guised a man of not little emotion, which he had learned to dominate, 
much to the displeasure of his foes who called him cold. That he had 
suffered from heart trouble before was a fact unknown to most of his 

There was no autopsy, no will. He had no children and the name 
Azafia died with him, since the only son of his deceased only brother 
(beyond childhood) was killed during the Civil War. 

Manuel Azana, who had fled Spain on a Sunday, February 5, 1939, 
died on Sunday, November 3, 1940. His body lay in state under 
Mexican protection. Republican flags had been prohibited, so it was 
the flag of Mexico that draped the coffin. He is buried in Montauban 
in a cemetery where cypress trees preside over the dead. Engraved on 
his tomb are a cross and the laconic inscription of his name and life- 
span and nothing more. Throughout the years a voluntary committee 
of Republicans-in-exile has maintained perpetual care of the grave, 
which is their symbol of a lost Spain. The stone never lacks a wreath 

13 This account differs from the description of Manuel Azana's last moments given in 
Rivas Cherifs Retrato de un desconoddo, which has appeared as this manuscript goes to 
press. Rivas Cherif describes the last days of Azana in the form of a letter received from 
Dona Dolores. Though it is not definitely stated, the reader is given the impression that 
Azana did receive the last rites of the church, and at the behest of his wife, for Dona 
Dolores speaks of having sent the servant Antonio for the nun and the Bishop, who, con- 
forming to Hernandez Sarabia's and her wishes, arrived just before the ex-President died. 
But that is all she says: that they did arrive, and moments later Azaiia died. I cannot 
explain the discrepancy in the two accounts, since both have the same source. I can indeed 
recall having asked Sra. de Azana very specifically whether her husband requested con- 
fession and extreme unction. Her answer was a resounding no. We can no longer ask 
General Hernandez Sarabia; he died of a heart attack in Mexico Gty on May 3, 1962, at 
the age of eighty-one. And were a servant named Antonio still alive, who would know 
where to find mm? 


Exile and Death, 1939-1940 

of flowers, and each year a delegation of exiles visits the tomb on the 
anniversary of the President's death. 

In the days when England seemed ready for her own epitaph, the 
London Times of Tuesday, November 5, 1940, found space for a 
last tribute to Manuel Azana. The long resume of his career charac- 
terized him as a man "of high ideals, noble intentions, and of great 
force and industry." On the same day that Londoners read their final 
news of one President, across the seas Americans were going to the 
polls to elect another President to an unprecedented third term in 

What happened to Dolores de Azana? The Mexican ambassador 
took her to Vichy. The rest of the story has already been told: 

After great difficulties Senora de Azafia and her sister were reunited. 
Later they crossed the ocean on a liner chartered for the transportation 
of European refugees. 

Senora de Azana was in the same cabin with eight other women and 
children. I muttered something to the effect that she should have 
been made more comfortable. With a sad look she said: 

'What does anything matter now?" 

The loss of her husband has indeed been a terrible blow to this fair, 
blue-eyed woman whom the president surrounded with the tenderest 
care and love. 14 

"Isabel de Palencia, op. c&, p. 131 (1945 edition). 



AFTER Don Quijote had teen knighted at ttie inn, and as he was 
returning home to provision himself with money, clean shirts, and a 
squire, the knight of La Mancha met with his first adventure, the one 
which sets the tone of his entire career. Bound to an oak tree, the 
young boy Andres is suffering the corrective blows of his master, the 
farmer whose sheep he had lost. Upon superficial inquiry, Don 
Quijote frees Andres and exacts from the farmer assurance that he will 
pay the back wages claimed by the lad. In Chapter XXXI when Don 
Quijote and Andres meet again, the knight receives not the gratitude 
he had expected, but curses, for Andres had got only a doubly hard 
lashing and a worsened situation as a result of Quijote's intervention. 
"The word of a peasant is not regulated by honor," muses the knight. 
"A curse upon you and all knights-errant that were ever born/' cries 
Andres. By the unavailing acts of Don Quijote, maybe Cervantes tries 
to tell us that good intentions are not enough. They can be tragic, in 
fact, unless the well-intentioned person investigates the consequences 
beforehand, for the essence of tragedy is to fail despite the best of 
intentions, which were wrong, misplaced, or misguided. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Good intentions are the tragic story of Manuel Azana and of the 
Spanish Republic. Consider now the epigraph to this took and its 
parody: to know what is right is not the same thing as to know how to 
defend what is right. Azana freed too many Andreses and trusted too 
many masters with whips in their hands. The Republic fell apart 
because of rash words and mad deeds. 

Manuel Azafia found it impossible to instill in others his own clear 
vision of a new and democratic Spain. He knew that the success of 
the Republic depended upon the creation of a responsible citizenry. 
Yet the whole history of that Republic was a crescendo of public dis- 
order. Many people say that the Republic had insufficient time to 
solve its problems, but these people forget that things never got better; 
they always got worse, and there was never any rapport between the 
Right and Left wings of the government itself. When the shouts 
became acts, the Civil War erupted. 

Good intentions are the plague of the Spanish people, whose 
strength in individual instincts creates a weakness in collective ones, 
and a consequent political history of incontinuity. Primo de Rivera 
began with good intentions, so did Negrin, and even Franco. If 
nearly every Spaniard feels himself to be the potential savior of the 
fatherland, it is not a wonder that, as Madariaga once observed, the 
leaders of Spain rise from sea level and bring to their office all the 
"peculiarities, singularities, and angularities of their isolated growth." 
The men of the Republican governments, mostly well-intentioned and 
quixotic egotists, never learned the virtues of self-subordination, mod- 
eration, and collaboration the middle-term entities so necessary to 
democracy, which is the system of government best suited to develop 
the solid middle class envisaged by Manuel Azana. 



How does one judge Manuel Azaiia, particularly with respect to the 
Civil War years and his conduct in France in exile? Can a man be 
judged by any except his equals in condition? Even the opponents of 
Azana's policies and methods respected his intellectual and moral hon- 
esty, which perhaps in some subtle way attracted more followers than 
his great oratory. Although he was a leader of enormous talent and 
erudition, Azaiia acquired most of his knowledge from books, and he 
never really knew "life" nor people well. He was a detached spirit, to 
be sure, but beneath the hauteur was disguised an unsuspected softness 
and emotionality* At bottom, perhaps Azafla was a weak and shy 
individual who hid these qualities with a show of strength through a 
fetish of unbending legality. 

Whatever its origin, and howevermuch it failed him, that fetish was 
his greatness. He personally represented the Constitution, as some 
statesman or group of statesmen must do in every nascent republic. If 
he made one tragic mistake, it was the way he handled the church, 
which in Spain you can either protect or kill but not kick, as he did. 
Even this, however, he tried to do honestly and legally. Though the 
background changed, Azaiia always acted the same role and espoused 
the same ideals. Accordingly, his unvarying strict parliamentary ap- 
proach to good government was called authoritarian by an undisci- 
plined peacetime Cortes, and termed cowardly by an authoritarian war- 
time government and a nation given to violence. 

Because Spaniards are an impressionable people, easily aroused, and 
even more easily deceived than their more au courant Latin brothers 
in France and Italy, Spanish politics tend to be inconsistent. Few 
people would suspect that the avowed liberal Jose Ortega y Gasset, 
who was to become one of the main voices of the 1931-36 Republic, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

had welcomed the advent of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship in 1923 
with a public statement in El sol, or that the general who was to become 
Franco's voice of Radio Seville during the Civil War, General Queipo 
de Llano, publicly declared himself in opposition to a military dictator- 
ship at the outset of Primo de Rivera's coup. The unique trait of 
Manuel Azana, however, was an unflagging consistency in both 
domestic and international political philosophy from beginning to end, 
from before the Primo de Rivera days until the last word of the tele- 
gram by which he resigned the Presidency, 

If this book serves any purpose, let it be above all else the public 
reinstatement of a noble soul who tried and failed. Maybe there was 
some Sancho Panza at his deathbed who knows that Dulcinea does 
exist; otherwise there is little hope for a liberal and democratic Spain. 



THESE hitherto unpublished letters, the first by Azafia's lawyer, the second 
by Azana, concern Azana's imprisonment in Barcelona in 1934, 

From Angel Ossorio to Gregorio Azana, Brother of Manuel Azana 

2 de Noviembre de 1.934 
Muy distinguido Sr. mio: 

Hace dos o tres dias el Sr. Alvarez Ugena me comunico por telefono el 
deseo que Vd. tenia de conocer la verdadera situacion del proceso iniciado 
contra su hermano D. Manuel y el encargo de que me preguntara sobre el 
particular. Estimo y yo tambien que seria mejor que yo le escribiera a usted 
directamente en lugar de transmitirle las referencias por su conducto. Me 
dispuse a hacerlo sin perder momento pero las circunstancias no me lo han 
permitido hasta ahora. 

Detenido D, Manuel, rue conducido a una comisaria de Vigilancia, a la 
residencia del General de la Division despues y al barco 'Uruguay," mas tarde. 
Desde alii fue llevado dos o tres dias despues al "Ciudad de Cadiz" y desde 
ayer esta en el destructor "Alcala Galiano," completamente solo. El me dice 
que se siente mas yreso, pero su carta revela mucho mejor humor y yo estoy 
mas tranquilo, porque en la actual situacion estan mejor salvaguardadas su 
dignidad y su seguridad. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

El General Pozas practice unas diligencias de tipo gubernativo, de aquellas 
que autoriza el Codigo de justicia militar antes de que se forme el proceso. 
De ellas no resultaba cargo algimo y me cuentan que tanto el instructor como 
el Auditor dijeron que, si por ellos fuera, le pondrian en libertad. 

El Auditor elevo las diligencias al Presidente del Tribunal Supremo. Este, 
que naturalmente no sabia que hacer con ellas, las paso al Fiscal. Y el Fiscal 
redacto una querella bastante inconsistente, pues segiin me refieren yo no lo 
he vistose limita a sostener que es verosimil que D. Manuel tuviera algo 
que ver con el movimiento de la Generalidad, porque tuvo una reunion en el 
Hotel Colon con 20 o 30 arnigos, porque habia visitado en dias anteriores la 
Generalidad, porque estaba en Barcelona y porque habia aparecido oculto en 
otro domicilio. La Sala dicto providencia negandose a admitir la querella, por 
juzgarse incompetente. El motivo era que si los hechos de Azana (y de Bello, 
pues tambien se referia a el) guardaban relation con el movimiento politico 
de la Generalidad, era natural que si no se habia de dividir la continencia de la 
causa, el fuero de los Consejeros de la Generalidad arrastrase a los otros ante 
el Tribunal de garantias. Me aseguran que los Magistrados Sres. Iglesias, Crespo 
y Anton Oneca reservaron su voto en el sentido de estimar la competencia 
de la Sala. 

Contra esa providencia interpuso el Fiscal recurso de suplica. Al mismo 
tiempo yo presente un escrito diciendo que D. Manuel estaba preso sin que se 
supiera por orden ni a disposicion de quien, por lo cual procedia que la Sala 
telegrafiase al Auditor diciendole que no era cierto que D. Manuel estuviese a 
disposicion de ella como se aseguraba en Barcelona. Con esto creian en 
Barcelona que el Auditor decretaria la libertad. La Sala proveyo que como 
todavia no era firme su anterior providencia, habia de esperar la resolution del 
recurso de suplica y entonces se proveeria. 

Inmediatamente se resolvio ese recurso, reformando su anterior proveido. 
Admitio la querella, elevo suplicatorio al Congreso para poder procesar (con lo 
que da por prejuzgado el asunto antes de que se practique una sola diligentia), 
mando instruir sumario, delegando en el Magistrado de Barcelona Sr. Lecea y 
dispuso que continuara la detencion del querellado. Dicese que contra este 



ultimo extreme han formulado voto particular los mismos tres magistracies que 
antes menciono. 

Frente a ese extreme de la detention, propuse recurso de suplica. La copia 
del mismo que remito a Vd. adjunta, me releva de entrar ahora en otras 

La Sala se desentendio facilmente de tramitarlo diciendo que no eramos 
parte en la causa, lo cual procesalmente es verdad, pero humana y juridicamente 
tiene otra explication muy distinta. Ante esta actitud yo he hecho dos cosas: 
presentar un escrito advirtiendo a la Sala ? en los terminos mas respetuosos, 
de lo irregular de su conducta; y hacer que su hermano de usted pida la Hbertad 
en nombre propio, sin valerse de abogados ni de procurador. Doy por descontado 
que tambien de esto se desentendera la Sala con cualquier pretexto liviano. 
Vea usted por donde un Juez instructor, y no un instructor cualquiera, sino el 
Tribunal Supremo nada menos, niega al Diputado a Cortes el derecho de quedar 
en Hbertad a las 72 horas sin estar procesado. La suspension de garantias es 
para la elasticidad de movimientos de la autoridad gubernativa, mas no para 
que la judicial prescinda de los canones a que tiene que estar sujeta. Tesis 
tan clara ha quebrado en este caso. 

Segiin las noticias que recibo de Barcelona, no se logra que aparezca cargo 
alguno contra don Manuel. Companys y Lluhi han declarado la verdad de 
la actitud de aquel frente al desvario en que ellos se metieron. Numerosos y 
calificados elementos de izquierdas republicanas han atestiguado de la misma 
manera los esfuerzos de su jefe para contrarrestar la locura catalanista. Ahora 
mismo he redactado un escrito pidiendo que declaren en Madrid los senores 
Sanchez Roman, Domingo, Barcia, Zulueta, Giral y Salvador, que pueden dar 
fe de los esfuerzos enormes que su hermano de usted hizo para evitar lo que 
ocurrio. Uego hasta encargar que fuesen en avion los jefes de otros partidos 
para ver si entre todos conseguian reducir a los exaltados barceloneses. Pero 
hoy por hoy, aunque el sumario resultase un expediente de beatification, todo 
seria inutil. El Congreso concedera el suplicatorio. El Supremo procesara, 
la detencion continuara y en fin, la cadena de dislates y de vejaciones sera muy 
larga. Las annas de la ley y la presunta serenidad de los Tribunales no juegan 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

para nada en este asunto. Estamos ante un problema politico y politicamente 
sera tramitado. Mientras la tempestad no se calme todos los esfuerzos seran 
inutiles. Su unica eficacia consistira en ir formando una larga cadena de 
injusticias y violencias que el dia de mafiana servira para la reparacion. 

Porque yo f io en la reparacion y aim en la apoteosis. Como yo me he batido 
ya frente a las pasiones desbordadas en los casos del "Maura no," de la explosion 
dictatorial, de la persecucion de Santiago Alba, etc., estoy acostuinbrado a no 
alarmarme excesivamente ante los griterios inconscientes. La distincion de don 
Antonio Maura entire la opinion y el ruido esta muy presente en mi memoria. 

Yo no tengo miedo en este instante mas que a un golpe militar que pudiera 
consumar en don Manuel una ferocidad, Aparte de esto, me parece que lo 
mejor que le puede ocurrir ahora es que le tengan como le tienen. Si estuviera 
en la calle, seria muy dificil que se librara de un atentado. Y si, asqueado, se 
marchaba de Espana, probablemente habria terminado su vida politica. Una 
persona de la calidad moral de Don Manuel Azana, de la injusticia vuelve, 
de la fuga, no. 

For otra parte, el magistrado Sr. Alarcon, esta haciendo los mas vivos 
esfuerzos para complicar a Don Manuel en el proceso del contrabando de armas. 
De esto no tengo sino referencias privadas y simples rumores. Pero todo lo doy 
por averiguado. Espero de un memento a otro que le acusen de las ninas 
desaparecidas, del asesinato del cura Merino y del "affaire" Stawinski. 

Frente a todo esto no hay mas aimas que la razon y la serenidad. Yo me 
esfuerzo de usar de las mias y en sugerirlas a los demas. El viaje sera malo 
pero el destino resultara agradable. Esto, si no se atraviesa el peligro antes 
aludido y que es el unico que me inspira temor hoy por hoy. 

Pregiinteme cuanto Vd. quiera, porque me hago cargo de la situacion de 
su ammo. Sugierame las ideas que se le ocurran, porque viniendo de Vd. seran 
acertadas. Y, en fin, disponga de mi buen deseo con igual confianza que tendria 
con un viejo amigo. 

Tengame por suyo y reciba un saludo afectuoso. 

Angel Ossorio (Rubricado) 



November 2, 1934 
Dear Sir 

Two or three days ago Mr, Alvarez Ugena telephoned me and told me of 
your wish to know the true status of the case brought against your brother, 
D. Manuel, and of your request that he ask me about the matter. He judged 
and I do toothat it would be best for me to write to you directly instead of 
sending the report through him. I was prepared to do so right away, but 
circumstances have prevented me until now. 

After having been arrested, D. Manuel was taken to a police station, afterward 
to the office of the Major General, and later to the ship "Uruguay," From there 
he was taken two or three days later to the "City of Cadiz" and yesterday 
removed to the destroyer "Alcala Galiano," where he is completely alone. He 
tells me that he feels more like a prisoner, but his letter reveals a much better 
frame of mind and I am more at ease, because his dignity and safety are better 
safeguarded under the present conditions. 

General Pozas performed certain administrative formalities authorized by the 
Code of Military Justice before suit is brought. No accusation was formulated, 
and I am told that the government attorney as well as the judge advocate would 
set him free if it were up to them. 

The judge advocate referred the proceedings to the chief justice of the 
Supreme Court. The latter, who naturally did not know what to do with 
them, passed them on to the attorney general. The attorney general drew up 
quite an inconsistent charge, since, as told to me I have not seen it it is 
confined to upholding that it is likely that D. Manuel had something to do 
with the movement of the Catalonian government, because he met with 20 or 
30 friends at the Hotel Colon, because on previous days he had visited the 
Catalonian parliament building, because he was in Barcelona, and because 
he had been found in hiding in another dwelling. The court pronounced 
judgment by refusing to admit the charge on grounds of its incompetency. The 
reason was that if the acts of Azafia (and of Bello, since he was referred to 
also) had any relevancy to the political movement of the Catalonian govern- 
ment, it was natural that if there was not going to be any division of consistency 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

in prosecution, the jurisdiction of the Counselors of the Catalonian govern- 
ment would drag the others before the Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees. 
I have been assured that the magistrates Messrs. Iglesias, Crespo, and Anton 
Oneca held back their vote in order to appraise the competency of the court. 

The attorney general then filed an appeal for reconsideration against that 
decision. At the same time I presented a writ saying that D. Manuel was under 
arrest without its being known by whose order or under whose jurisdiction; 
consequently the court should telegraph the judge advocate telling him of its 
uncertainty that D. Manuel was within its jurisdiction as affirmed in Barcelona, 
As a result of this, they thought in Barcelona that the judge advocate would 
decree his freedom. The court decided that inasmuch as its previous verdict 
still was not definite, it would necessarily await the decision on the appeal and 
then reach a verdict 

That appeal was granted immediately, with a consequent return to the 
previous decision. The charge was admitted, letters rogatory were referred to 
the Congress for arraignment (which means that the matter is prejudged before 
the initiation of any proceedings), an indictment was drawn up delegating 
authority to the Magistrate of Barcelona, Mr, Lecea, and the continued deten- 
tion of the defendant was ordered. It is said that the same three aforementioned 
magistrates have cast a special vote against this last demand. 

I confronted that demand for detention by filing an appeal. My enclosure 
of a copy of it in tlus letter relieves me from entering into other explanations 
at this time. 

The court easily renounced responsibility for handling this appeal by saying 
that we were not party to the case, which procedurally is true, but which 
humanly and legally has a very different explanation. Confronted by this, 
attitude I have done two things: presented a writ advising the court, in the 
most respectful terms, of the irregular nature of its conduct; and instructed 
your brother to request his freedom in his own name, without having recourse 
to lawyers or to counsel I take for granted that the court will find some slight 
pretext for rejecting this too. Observe the extent to which a trial judge> and 
not just any judge, but none less than the Supreme Court, denies to a deputy 
to the Cortes the right of freedom after 72 hours without being indicted. The 



suspension of guarantees is for the government to wield its authority with 
latitude, but not for the judiciary to disregard the precepts to which it must 
be bound. Clearly there has been such a violation in this case. 

According to what I hear from Barcelona, no proof can be brought against 
Don Manuel. Companys and Lluhi have testified to his opposition to the wild 
schemes in which they were involved. Numerous and competent Left-wing 
republicans have also testified to their leader s efforts to oppose the Catalonian 
madness. I have just drawn up a petition requesting that Messrs. Sanchez 
Roman, Domingo, Barcia, Zulueta, Giral, and Salvador in Madrid sign, an 
affidavit certifying the enormous efforts that your brother made to prevent what 
occurred. He even urged the heads of the other parties to come by airplane 
to see whether, by group action, they could manage to dissuade the exalted 
politicians of Barcelona. But right now, even though the indictment should 
turn out to be a means of beatification, all would be useless. The Congress 
will grant the letters rogatory. The Supreme Court will prosecute, the detention 
will continue, and, in short, the vexatious chain of absurdities will be prolonged. 
The arm of the law and the supposed impersonality of the courts count for 
nothing in this matter. We are faced with a political problem which will be 
processed in a political manner. Until the storm calms, every effort will be in 
vain. The only silver lining lies in the fact that some day the growing chain of 
injustices and violations will require redress. 

Because I am confident in redress and even in his apotheosis, Since I have 
already struggled against unbridled emotions in the cases of 'Maura no," the 
dictatorial explosion, the persecution of Santiago Alba, etc., I am accustomed 
to not becoming inordinately alarmed in the face of senseless uproar. I can still 
see the honorable figure of Antonio Maura very dearly midst the accusation 
and shouting. 

At this moment my only fear is that a military coup could light a fire of 
wrath in don Manuel. Aside from this, it seems to me that the best thing 
that can happen to him right now is to be held where he is. If he were on, 
the street, it would be very hard to protect him against assault And if he 
were to leave Spain in disgust, this would probably end his political career. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

A person of the moral stature of Don Manuel Azana can make a comeback from 
injustice, but not from flight. 

In addition, Judge Alarcon is making the most intense efforts to implicate 
Don Manuel in the traffic of contraband arms. In this matter I have only 
private reports and plain rumor. But nothing surprises me. Any moment I 
expect him to be accused of the missing girls, 1 of the assassination of the priest 
Merino, and of the Stawinski affair. 

Reason and calm are the only arms to combat all this. I am forcing myself 
to adopt this attitude and to suggest the same to others. The road will be 
rough, but the destination will be rewarding. Yes, unless we get involved in the 
aforementioned threat, which is the only thing that breathes fear into me at 

Ask me all you wish, for I can imagine your state of mind. If you have any 
ideas, tell me, because coming from you they should be good ones. And, in 
short, rely upon me with the same confidence as you would upon an old friend. 

Cordially and affectionately yours, 

Angel Ossorio (signature) 

From Manuel Azana to His Friend, Pedro Vargas, Lawyer in Valencia 

Barcelona, II de Noviembre 1.934 
Sr. D. Pedro Vargas 
Mi querido amigo: 

Parece que es corresponder mal con quien profeso tanta amistad y estimation 
dejar transcurrir varias semanas sin contestar a una carta como la suya. En 
realidad, aparte de otros enojos, solamente desde que estoy en el "Galiano" 
dispongo de tiempo y de medios para cumplir con los amigos el grato deber de 
agradecerles sus buenos recuerdos. 

1 The "missing girls" were some little girls wno had disappeared in Madrid at that time, 
and of whose disappearance nothing has ever been learned. It is a classic unsolved case. 



Habia que entregar las cartas abiertas (todavia las recibo asi), y aunque no 
tenia que decirle a nadie cosas graves, ya soy demasiado talludo para someterme 
a un regimen de colegial. Aqui en este barco me enoientro a gusto } y no tengo 
ninguna prisa por salir. Tanto mas, cuanto que seria iniitil tenerla. Las 
derechas, en efecto, se ensanan conmigo como Vd. dice, pero no se ensanarian 
si los republicanos de ahora no me hubieran puesto indefenso entre sus colmillos. 
Tengo la sospecha de que, Alfonso XIII, retomado, no se hubiera arrojado contra 
mi con mas furor, 

Debo decirle, ademas, que nada de lo que hacen conmigo ni de lo que 
intentan hacer, me sorprende. Me bastaba conocer a las personas para pronosticar 
que aprovecharian cualquier ocasion para destruirme, si pueden. Alia ellos. 

De todos los amigos recibo diariamente conmovedoras palabras de afecto a 
las que no se como responder. La de Vd. se encuentra entre las mas estimadas. 
Le quedo muy obligado y le reitero mi afectuoso saludo de correligionario y 
amigo, q.e.s.m. 

M, Azana (Rubricado) 

November 11, 1934 

My dear friend: 

When I let several weeks go by without answering a letter like yours, it 
would seem to be poor treatment of a person for whom I profess so much friend- 
ship and esteem. Actually, aside from other annoyances, only since my arrival 
on the "Galiano" have I had the time and means to attend to the pleasant duty 
of thanking friends for their kind messages. 

I was required to transmit letters unsealed (I still receive them that way), 
and though I had no weighty things to tell anybody, I am too old now to submit 
myself to schoolboy regulations. Here on this ship I am comfortable and am 
in no hurry to leave, especially since impatience would be futile. You are 
correct when you say the Right wing is taking its vengeance on me, but they 
would not do so if the present republicans had not rendered me defenseless 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azaffa 

in their clutches. A reinstated Alfonso XIII could hardly have attacked me 
more frenziedly. 

I should tell you, moreover, that I am not surprised by any part of what they 
are doing to me or are trying to do. To know the people involved was enough 
to predict that they would seize any chance to destroy me if they could. So 
much for them. 

From all my friends I receive, daily, touching words of affection which I 
hardly know how to answer. Your words are among those that I hold most dear. 
I remain obligated to you and reiterate the affectionate regards of a coreligionist 
and friend. 

M. Azana (signature) 



IT is NOT possible at present to compile a complete list of Azana's myriad 
speeches in single editions, published in various languages, or his many articles 
in newspapers and magazines published in Europe and in Spanish America. 


La corona. Madrid: Compafiia Iberoamericana de Publicaciones Mundo Latino, 
1928, and La Farsa, 1932. The Entremes del Serena is appended to the 1928 
edition and was also published in Italian as Intermezzo madnleno in Gol- 
lezione del teatro comico e faammatko, Vol. XXXIII (Florence: Casa Editrice 
"Nemi," 1933). 

Discursos en campo aUerto. Madrid, Bilbao, and Barcelona; Espa$a-Calpe, 1936. 
En el poder y en la oposidon (1932-34). 2 vols. Madrid, Bilbao, and Barcelona: 

Espasa-Calpe, 1934. 
Estudios de politka francesa contempordnea. Vol. I: La yolitka militar. Madrid: 

Editorial "Saturnino Calleja," n.d. (prologue signed October, 1918)* The 

projected additional two volumes were never published. 
La invention del Qmjote y otros enwyos. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1934. 
El jardin de lo$ frailes. Madrid: Saez Hermanos, 1927. 
Mi Tebelion en Barcelona. Bilbao, Madrid, and Barcelona: Espasa-Calpe, 1935. 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

La novela de Pepita Jimenez. Madrid: Imprenta Ciudad Lineal, 1927. 

Pepita Jimenez, by Juan Valera. Notes and prologue by Manuel Azana. 
("Clasicos Castellanos" series, Vol. XXX.) Madrid: Ediciones de "La 
Lectura," 1927. 

Plumas y palabras. Madrid: Compania Iberoamericana de Publicaciones, 1930. 
Una politica (1930-32). Bilbao, Madrid, and Barcelona: Espasa-Calpe, 1932. 
Valera en Italia. Amores, politica y liter 'atura. Madrid: Editorial Paez, 1929. 

La velada en BenicarU. Buenos Aires: Editorial Losada, 1939. Published 
originally in French as La veillee a Benicarlo. Translated from Spanish into 
French by Jean Camp. Paris: Gallimard, 1939. 

"Vida de Don Juan Valera." Unpublished manuscript, Spanish National Prize 
of Literature, 1926. 


From the French 

Cendrars, Blaise. Antologia negra. Madrid: Editorial Cenit, 1930. 

An odd collection of animal fables, folklore, anecdotal and moral tales, 
proverbs, legends o the creation of mankind, allegory, and personification 
of natural phenomena. 

Erckman, Emile, and Chatrian, Alexandra Historia de un quinto de 1813. 
1921. A novel 

Giraudoux, Jean. Simon el patetico. 

A "fragmento" of Azana's translation of this novel appeared in the 
March 29, 1924, issue of Espana; at that time it was "about to be published 
by Editorial Calpe." 

Montfort, Eugene. La Nina Bonita o El amor a los cuarenta anos. 

A novel published by Azana's magazine La pluma, which carried Rivas 
Cherif s book review of this translation in the February, 1922, issue. 

Rene, Benjamin. Los soldados en la guerra. Caspar. 1921. A novel 



Stael-Holstein, Anne Louise Germaine de. Dlez anos de destierro. Madrid: 
Espasa-Calpe, 1919 and 1931. 

Voltaire. Memorias de $u vida. Madrid and Barcelona, 1920. 

From the English 

Borrow, George. Los Zincali (Los gitanos de Espana). Madrid: Ediciones 
"La Nave/* 1932. 

First published in 1841, this is one of Borrow's books on gypsies. 
Normally Azana's books were painstakingly proofread, but this is an 
exception. The errata sheet at tie end lists 118 errata. Perhaps he was 
busy with affairs of state; the publication date is 1932. 

. La EiUia en Espana. 3 vols. Madrid: Coleccion Granada, 1921. 

Chesterton, Gilbert K. La esfera y la cruz. Place and date of publication 

Chesterton's The Ball and the Cross and Sorrow's The Bihle in Spain 
obviously held more than an intellectual appeal for Azafia, because these 
otherwise unrelated books the first a novel and the second a personal 
narrativehave in common a religious theme wherein Catholicism is 
attacked by an atheist (in The Ball and the Cross) and by a former atheist 
turned evangelist (Borrow himself). It would seem that even in the work 
that he selected for translation, Azafia was attracted to erudition that could 
expose what he considered to be the intolerance of the Roman Catholic 

Some of these translations were mentioned in the text. Others cannot be 
identified completely because they were printed in small editions, copies of 
which are hard to find today. It is possible that there were still other Azana 
translations. One and another of the listed translations can be found in various 
libraries in Spanish-speaking countries. None but the following ones have been 
located in U.S. libraries, and they only at the one place indicated: Antologia 
negra, Johns Hopkins University; La BiUia en Espana, Duke University; Los 
Zincali> Library of Congress. 

Borrow's The Bibk in Spain is the most important of all these works. 
Although first published in 1842, the book had never been translated into 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Spanish, which seems inconceivable in view of its wealth of firsthand data on 
mid-nineteendi-century Spain. In England it was an enormously popular book 
that saw many editions and xeprintings. Azana translated from the definitive 
revised edition of 1896, the U. R. Burke text with glossary (incorporated into 
Azana's footnotes), which was the eighteenth edition and the one that has 
been reprinted so often since 1896. 

George Borrow had once been a hardened atheist. With his total conversion, 
he became as persistent and fanatical in his new-found faith as he had been 
in his former disbelief. He had already traveled and written a great deal before 
the British and Foreign Biblical Society sent him to Spain to print and dis- 
seminate the New Testament there. Ostensibly The Bible in Spain is an 
account of his evangelical activities in Spain, but actually it is an excellent 
travelogue on the regions, customs, and language (Borrow was a linguist) of 
Spain as they were at that time. Although Borrow was interested primarily in 
the everyday types which represent collective Spanish traits, the narration is 
a valuable key to the personality of high political, literary, ecclesiastical, and 
civil figures of that epoch, One meets, for example, the Duque de Rivas and 
the colorful figure of Mendizabal, the Jewish Prime Minister who was one of 
Spam's ablest statesmen. Much can be learned of the Jews and Moors, of the 
Carlist Wars, and of the prisons, to which Borrow was not a stranger. 

Azana was always drawn to books on Spain's political history, especially 
those which emphasized the role of the church. Here he was fascinated also 
with Borrow as a person: the persistent Protestant missionary who fought both 
the government and the church the latter more than the formerin order to 
print an unannotated 5,000-copy edition of the New Testament in Spanish. 
To publish the edition without notes was the real obstacle. Having been 
frustrated at every turn, Borrow lambasted the intolerance of the Catholic 
church throughout his narrative: "the Popish system, whose grand aim has 
ever been to keep people's minds as far as possible from God, and to centre 
their hopes and fear in the priesthood." Because the book contains a number 
of outbursts like this one, Azana's translation must have had difficulty reaching 
the bookstand^ in Madrid when it was published in 1921. 

In a preliminary note to the Spanish translation, Azana praises Borrow for 
his tenacity, tis "razori* and "serenidad" and most of all for his struggle for 
a rninirnum of hospitality, liberty, and tolerance. Evidently Azana's purpose 
in translating the work was at least partly didactic, for he summarizes: "Sorrow's 



book is a beautiful document for the history of tolerance, not in laws, but in 
the mind of Spaniards," To Azana the book was a work of art, without caricature 
or false statement, a creation wherein things and places and customs were 
painted with an exactness that was not only true, but revealing even to 

Azana was a more than competent translator* The Bible in Spain was not 
easy to translate. Widely interspersed with expressions from gypsy and other 
dialects, Borrow's already wordy style was rendered even more difficult by a 
lexicon that is archaic to the twentieth-century reader, be he Englishman, 
American, or Spaniard. Azana's translation, however, is accurate and smooth, 
even where Borrow's prose reads like a legal document If the inexperienced 
translator tends to increase verbiage, Azana's art lay in reducing it while at the 
same time accounting for every word of the original English prose. 


Alaiz, Felipe. Azana. Combatiente en la <paz. Padfista en la guerrti. Toulouse, 
An anti-Azafia diatribe in pamphlet form. 

Alcala Zamora, Niceto. Los defectos de la Constitution de 193L Madrid, 

Published after Alcala Zamora was deposed from the Presidency of the 

Alvarez del Vayo, Julio, Freedoms Battle. London, Toronto, and New York, 
Republican Minister's view of the Spanish Civil War; pro-Negrin. 

. The Last Optimist. London and New York, 1950. 

Mostly autobiographical. Interesting pages on Azana. 

Arraras, Joaquln. Frandsco Franco. Translated from Spanish into English 
by J, Manuel Espinosa. Milwaukee, 1938. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

A Catholic book from a Catholic press, Bruce of Milwaukee. Derogatory 
references to Azafia. 

. Memorias intimas de Azana. Madrid, 1939. 

The stolen portions of Azana's memoirs, carefully edited for the desired 
effect, together with caricatures of Azafia. 

. Historia de la Segunda Republica Espanola, Vol. I. Madrid, 1956. 

Published by the Spanish government. Profusely illustrated. 
Atholl, Katharine (Duchess of). Searchlight on Spain. London, 1938. 

Pro-Republican, day-by-day account of the Civil War, particularly as it 
affected the British Empire. 

Aznar, Manuel. Historia militar de la guerra de Espana (3d ed.), Vol. I 
Madrid, 1958. 

Published by the Spanish government. Profusely illustrated. 

Bahamonde y Sanchez de Castro, Antonio. Un ano con Queipo de Llano. 
Memorias de un Nacionalista. Mexico City, 1938. 

One of the few accounts of lif e under the Nationalists in southern Spain 
during the Civil War, 

Barea, Arturo. The Clash. Translated from Spanish into English by the 
author's wife, lisa Barea. London, 1946. 

The Clash is really Book III of the trilogy The Forging of a Relel, New 
York, 1946. One of the best first-person narratives to come out of the 
Civil War. Eyewitness account of the defense of Madrid. A very personal 

Baroja, Pio. "The Mistakes of the Spanish Republic," The Living Age 
(Boston), January, 1937, pp. 422-27. Translated from an article of unknown 
date in La Nadon of Buenos Aires. 

Insight into the political disenchantment of one of Spain's leading 

Bauer, Eddy. Rouge et Or: Chroniques de la "Reconquete" Espagnok, 1937- 
1938. Paris, n.d. (signed 1938). 

Pro-Franco account of the first two years of the Civil War, 



Benavides, Manuel D. Guerra y revoluddn en Cataluna. Mexico City, 1946. 

Pro-Republican account of the war in and around Barcelona, Pages on 

Berenguer, Damaso. De la Dictadura a la Re-publica. Madrid, 1946. 

Self justification by Primo de Rivera's successor. Covers the period from 
the fall of the dictatorship to the first few days of the Republic. Author's 
prologue is signed 1935. 

Bertrand, Louis, and Petrie, Sir Charles. The History of Spain. London, 
1956 (rev. ed.). 

Anti-Republic, pro-Franco. 
Bessie, Alvah. Men in Battle. New York, 1939. 

A soldier's view of the Civil War by an International Brigadist Pro- 

Bois-Juzan, Daniel de. Celui qui fut Pedro Munoz. Paris, 1949. 
Fictionalized version of the life of Azana. A novel. 

Bollati, Ambrogio, and del Buono, Giulio. La guerra di Spagna. Torino, 

Bolloten, Burnett. The Grand Camouflage: The Communist Conspiracy in 
the Spanish Civil War. New York, 1961. 

English journalist's minute documentation of the rise of communism in 
Spain up to the overthrow of the Largo Caballero government 

Borkenau, Franz, The Spanish Cockpit. London, 1937. 

A good account of the Republic and of the war, as far as it goes, which 
is to the first part of 1937. 

Bowers, Claude G. My Mission to Spain. New York, 1954. 

A well-intentioned but blindly pro-Republican work by the U.S. 
ambassador to the Spanish Republic, 1933-39. Contains numerous errors of 
detail, some of them with reference to Azafia, to whom the author is 
generously sympathetic. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Brenan, Gerald. The Spanish Labyrinth London, 1943, 1950, 1960, 

A scholarly book, one of die best on events leading to the Civil War, 
with an outstanding chapter on anarchism. Pages on Azana. 

Buckley, Henry. Life and Death of the Spanish Republic. London, 1940. 

A pro-Republic book written by a Catholic British journalist, now a 
standard work on the Civil War. Scattered, but extensive, material on 
Azana. Excellent analysis and original photographs of the main Republican 

El Caballero Audaz (pseudonym of Carretero, Jose Maria). De Mfonso 
XIII a Lerroux pasando poT Azana. Madrid, 1933. 

Defamation of Azana. 

. Secretos y misterios del terrorismo en Espana. Madrid, 1933. 

More defamation of Azana. 

Casado, Segismundo. The Last Days of Madrid. Translated from Spanish into 
English by Rupert Croft-Cooke. London, 1939. 

One of the few accounts of the disintegration of the Republican army 
in the Central Zone during the last months of the Civil War. A con- 
demnation of the policies of Negrin and Alvarez del Vayo. Generally 
sympathetic toward Azana. 

Casares, Francisco. Azana y ellos, Cincuenta semblanzas rojas. Granada, 

A vitriolic scandal sheet. Libelous material about Azana, Rivas Cherif, 
and many other Republicans. Published in Nationalist territory during 
the war. 

Cattell, David T. Communism and the Spanish Civil War. Berkeley and 
Los Angeles, 1956. 

Documents the growth of Communist influence upon the Republic 
during the Civil War. Thorough, accurate, unbiased. 

. Soviet Diplomacy and the Spanish Civil War. Berkeley and Los 

Angeles, 1957. 

Further documentation of one aspect of Communism and the Spanish 
Civil War. 



Chabas, Juan. Literatura espanola contempordnea, 1 898-1950. Havana, 1952, 

One of the few histories of Spanish literature which give space to an 
analysis of Azafia's works. 

Clerisse, Henry. Espagne 36-37. Paris, 1937. 

A French journalist's view of the early part of the war. Abundant 
horror photographs. 

Coles, S. F. A. Franco of Spain. Westminster, Maryland, 1956. 
Superficial, inaccurate. Maligns Azana. 

Colodny, Robert Garland. The Struggle for Madrid: The Central Epic of 
the Spanish Conflict (1936-1937). New York, 1958. 

The only extensively documented military history of the battle of Madrid. 
Unbiased, but pro-Republican in spirit. Interestingly presented. Numerous 
typographical errors. 

Comin Colomer, Eduardo. Historia secreta de la Segunda Republica. 2 vols. 
Madrid, 1954 and 1955. 

A treatise on Masonry in the Republic. Many exaggerations and in- 
accuracies. Pages on the death of Azana. 

. La Republica en el exllio. Barcelona, 1957. 

More on Spanish Masonry and much repeated from the previous book 

La Constitucion Espanola de 9 de didembre de 1931, with glosses by Antonio 
Royo Villanova. Valladolid, 1934. 

Conze, Edward. Spain To-Day: Revolution and Counter-Revolution. New 
York, 1936. 


Cot, Pierre. Triumph of Reason. Chicago and New York, 1944. 

French Air Minister's explanation of the reasons for the French defeat 
in World War H. Chapter X deals with the Spanish Civil War and the 
French policy toward the Republic. Reliable data, well written. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

Del Portillo, Eduardo M., and Primelles, Carlos. Horas del cautiverio 
Madrid, n.d. 

An account of the whereabouts of important Republicans in the months 
preceding the overthrow of Alfonso XIII. Two chapters on Azafia, the 
second of which is inaccurate. 

Diaz Doin, Guillermo. El pensamiento politico de Azafia. Buenos Aires 

Not a study of Azana; gleanings from his writings. 

Domenchina, Juan Jose. "Un entendimiento ejemplar: Don Manuel Azana, 
escrkor y politico/' Universidad de La Haloana^ publication bimestral, Afio 
17, Nos. 100-103 (1952), pp. 238-72. 

A rambling and disorganized article by Azana's former private secretary. 

Domingo, Marcelino. La revolution de octubre: Causas y experiendas. Barce- 
lona, 1935. 

Expose of the Eienio Negro, chiefly its origin. Pro-Azana, anti-Lerroux. 

Falcon, Cesar, Critica de la revolution espanola (Desde la Dictadura hasta las 
Constituyentes). Madrid, 1931. 

Prophetic, Pages on Azafia. 

Fernsworth, Lawrence. Spain's Struggle for Freedom. Boston, 1957. 

An anti-Franco book by a Catholic-turned-Unitarian who was a corre- 
spondent in Spain during the Civil War. Valuable pages on Azana. An 
authentic work whose data are more reliable than its Spanish orthography. 

Ferrandiz Alborz, F. La bestia contra Espana. Montevideo, Uruguay, 1951. 

Socialist propaganda, plus personal narrative, by a prominent Republican 
who went into hiding in Franco Spain, One of the few accounts of con- 
ditions in Spain immediately after the end of the Civil War. A good 

Fresco, Mauricio. La emigration republicana espanola: Una victoria de Mexico. 
Mexico City, 1950. 

lists all the prominent Republican exiles who emigrated to Mexico. 



Garcia Pradas, J. Guerra Civil. Vesoul, France, 1947. 

Defamatory poetry, aimed at all "enemies of the Republic," including 
the "vile" Azafia. 

Gimenez Caballero, E. Manuel Azafia (Profecias espanolas). Madrid, 1932. 

Defamatory biography by a fanatical Falangist organizer. 
Gongora Echenique, Manuel. Ideario de Manuel Azafia. Valencia, 1936. 

A tribute to Azafia, published before the outbreak of the Civil War. 

Gonzalez Ruiz, Nicolas. Azana. Sus ideas religiosas. Sus ideas politicas. 
El homfae. Madrid, 1932. 

Inimical to Azafia, though moderate in attack. Undercurrents of religious 

Hardin, Floyd. The Spanish Civil War and Its Political, Social, Economic 
and Ideological Backgrounds: A Bibliography. Denver, 1938. 

An important list of titles. An indispensable source of hundreds of 
magazine articles. Topical index. 

Hayes, Carlton J. H. The United States and Spain: An Interpretation. New 
York, 1951. 

Hayes, a Catholic, was former U.S. ambassador to Spain. Pro-Franco, 
anti-Republic, the book is well written, but it contains numerous half- 
truths and some untruths. 

Hernandez, Jesus. Yo, ministro de Stalin en Espana. Madrid, 1954. 
An expose of communism in Spain during the Civil Wan 

Jellinek, Frank. The Civil War in Spain, London, 1938. 

A good account of the war up to August, 1937. Pro-Republic. Material 
on Azana. 

Jones, Hugh Parry. 'The Spanish Civil War: A Study in American Public 
Opinion, Propaganda and Pressure Groups." Unpublished PhD. disserta- 
tion, University of Southern California, 1949. 
A fine work which should have been published 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

Juventud Republicans Espanola. Azana: Una vida al servido de Espana. 
Mexico City, 1942. 

A pamphlet, with articles by sixteen prominent Republicans, in homage 
to the memory of Azana. 
La Mora, Constancia de. In Place of Spkndor. New York, 1939. 

Womanish, Communistic, and anti-Azana, 

Langdon-Davies, John. Behind the Spanish Barricades. London, 1936. 
Pro-Republic, this book covers only the early months of the Civil War. 

Largo Caballero, Francisco. Mis recuerdos: Carlos a un amigo. Mexico City, 

Self-justification of Largo Caballero's political role during the Republic 
and Civil War. These memoirs, written in epistolary form, show that he 
was an uncompromising revolutionary, but not a Communist Loosely 

Last, Jef. The Spanish Tragedy. Translated by David Hallett from the 
Dutch (published in Holland in 1938). London, 1939. 

This work, by a Dutch journalist who became a Communist and fought 
in the famous Fifth Regiment during the battle for Madrid, covers the 
Civil War only through 1937. The author claims (page 252) that "the 
Soviet Union has no imperialistic aspirations." 

Lerroux, Alejandro. La pequena historia. Espana 1930-36. Apuntes para 
la historia grande vividos y redactados por el autor. Buenos Aires, 1945. 

Machinations of the men of the Republic. A back-room view by the head 
of the government during the Black Biennium, Azana's archenemy. 

Lojendio, Luis Maria de. Operaciones militares de la Guerra de Espana, 
1936-39. Barcelona, 1940. 

The standard work from the Nationalist point of view. 

Longuet, Jean. 'Interviewing Premier Azafia/' The Living Age (Boston), 
February, 1933, pp. 506-9. 

Translated from Vu, a Paris illustrated weekly, no date given. (Azana 
spoke French fluently.) 



Madariaga, Salvador de. Spain: A Modern History. New York, 1958. 

A revision and extension of earlier editions, the first one (Espana) having 
been published in 1930, this indispensable work covers the whole twentieth 
century, with point of reference in the nineteenth. The author discusses 
the shortcomings of the Republic and the irresponsibility of the succeeding 
regime. Generally sympathetic to Azafia. 

. Anarchy or Hierarchy. New York, 1937. 

A work mostly of political theory, written with Spain in mind. 
Malraux, Andre. Mans Hope. New York, 1938. 

Panorama of the early part of the Civil War. One of the few narratives 
to include a view of the Republican air force. 
Manuel, Frank E. The Politics of Modern Spain. New York, 1938. 

Scholarly. Emphasis on 1931-36. 

Maranon, Gregorio. Ltberalismo y comunismo. Refiexiones sobre la revolution 
espanola. Buenos Aires, 1938. 

A pamphlet, hostile to the wartime Republican government. 

Marcus, James S. 'The Personality of Manuel Azaiia," Unpublished honors 
essay, Harvard University, 1951. 

Immature but thoughtful. 

Martinez Barrio, Diego, Origenes del Frente Popular espanoL Buenos Aires, 

One of the few books on this subject 
Matthews, Herbert L The Education of a Correspondent. New York, 1946, 

First-hand data on the fall of Catalonia. 
. The Yoke and the Arrows. New York, 1957. 

Reminiscences. Pages 198-99 on the event at the Toledo Alcazar, 
written on hearsay, were corrected in the second edition (1961). 

Maurm, Joaquin. Hacia la segunda revoludSn: EL fracaso de la Repdblica 
y la inmrrecdon de octubre (2d ed.). Barcelona, n.d. (prologue signed 
April 14, 1935). 
An interesting work, despite its extravagant schemes for implementation 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

of social reform. Material on Azana, with special reference to his army 

Mendizabal, Alfredo. The Martyrdom of Spain: Origins of a Civil War. 
New York, 1938. 

The author, a Spanish Catholic professor, concludes that all parties, 
classes, and groups (including Azafia's) shared the responsibility for the 
Civil War but those who started the war bear the greatest blame, A 
thoughtful work by a Republican moderate. 

Merin, Peter. Spain between Death and Birth. Translated from the German 
by Charles Pullman. New York, 1938. 
Passionately anti-Franco, pro-Republican. Good photographs. 

Mola Vidal, Emilio. Lo que yo supe . . . (Memorias de mi paso por la 
Direction General de Seguridad). 3 vols. Madrid, n.i (Vol. I signed 
February, 1932; Vol. II signed April, 1932; Vol. Ill signed March, 1933). 

Memoirs of the advent of the Republic, by Franco's literary general. 

. El pasado, Azana y el porvenir. Madrid, 1934. 

Included, along with the previous book, in Mola's Qbras completas, 
Valladolid, 1940, this volume deals in its psychopathic way with Azaiia's 
army reforms and Mola's military theory in general. 

Mori, Arturo. Cronica de las Cortes Constituyentes de la Segnnda Republica 
Espanola. 13 vols, Madrid, 1932. 

A day-by-day account of how the Republic's Constitution was framed, 
with many speeches. Biased to the Left. 

Morrow, Felix, Revolution and Counter Revolution in Spain. New York, 

Communistic, anti-Azana. 

Orwell, George. Homage to Catalonia. New York, 1952. 

One of the great personal narratives to come out of the Civil War, but a 
view of the war whose validity is limited largely to one sector of military 
and political activity. 



Ossorio y Gallardo, Angel. Vida j sacrifido de Company*. Buenos Aires, 

Azana's lawyer, a former Monarchist who offered his services to the 
Republic at the outbreak of the Civil War and was appointed ambassador 
first to Belgium, then to France, and finally to Argentina, writes in defense 
of the memory of Luis Companys. Pages on the exodus from Catalonia. 
"Azafia y las derechas," Revista de las Indias (Bogota, Colombia), 

December, 1944. 

Pages of homage. Disorganized. 
. Mis memorias, Buenos Aires, 1946. 

Opinions on the Republic and the Civil War. 
. La guerra de Espana y los catolicos. Buenos Aires, 1942. 

The last chapter is a fictional dialogue between Azafia and Neville 
Chamberlain, who died within a few days of each other. 

Palencia, Isabel de. Smouldering Freedom: The Story of the Spanish Republi- 
cans in Exile. New York and Toronto, 1945; London, 1946. 

Sentimental, unreliable, pro-Negrin. Kind pages on senora de Azafia. 

Payne, Stanley G. Falange: A History of Spanish Fascism. Stanford, Cali- 
fornia, 1961. 

The definitive work on the Falange to date. Excellent analysis of the 
character of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera. 

Peers, E. Allison. The Spanish Tragedy: 1930-1936. New York, 1936. 

A middle-of-the-road analysis of why the Republic failed. Tendency to 
overlook the shortcomings of the Right. 

. Catalonia Infelix. London, 1937. 

An objective analysis of Catalonia's role in the Republic. 
Perez Salas, Jesus. Guerra en Espana (1936 a 1939). Mexico City, 1947. 

An unpolished but highly significant work by a regular army officer who 
remained loyal to the Republic Strongly anti-Communist. The author's 
honesty and common sense make this work one of the most genuine 
accounts of the war. Perez Salas sees Negrin as a dictator and Azafia as 
Negrfn's virtual prisoner. The book should be better known. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Pla, Jose. Historia de la Segunda Republica Espanola. 4 vols. Barcelona, 
1940 and 1941. 

A poor example of what a work of history should be. Anti-Republic* 
Prieto, Carlos. Spanish Front. London, Edinburgh, Paris, Melbourne, Toronto, 
and New York, 1936. 

The book makes frequent reference to Miguel [sic] Azana. 
Prieto, Indalecio. La tragedia de Espana: Discursos pronundados en America 
del Swr. Buenos Aires, 1939. 

Six speeches given in South America in defense of the Republic. 
. Palabras de ayer y de hoy, Santiago de Chile, 1938. 

Four speeches given in Spain on Republican affairs. In the speech dated 
May 1, 1936, Prieto predicts that if there were a rebellion, Franco would 
be the man to lead it. 

. Como y por que sali del Ministerio de Defensa Nadonal: Intriga de los 

rusos en Espana. Paris, 1939. 

A speech, given in Spain, in which Prieto tells how and why he was 
dismissed by Negrin. 

Ramos Oliveira, Antonio. Politics, Economics and Men of Modern Spain, 
1808-1946. Translated from Spanish into English by Teener Hall. London, 

The best general book on those aspects of Spanish life delimited by its 
tide; also the most incisive chapter that has been written on Azana, Anti- 
totalitarian, but points out the weaknesses of the Republic. 

Ratcliff, Dillwyn F. Prelude to Franco. New York, 1957. 
A brief study of Primo de Rivera. 

Regler, Gustav. The Great Crusade. Translated from the German by Whittaker 
Chambers and Barrows Mussey, with a Preface by Ernest Hemingway. New 
York and Toronto, 1940. 

A good novel of the Civil War, though somewhat choppy. Regler fought 
in the International Brigades. There is a good description of the battle for 
Madrid and of the Republican victory at Guadalajara. Exaltation of the 


Rivas Cherif (Rivas-Xerif), Cipriano. Eetrato de un desconotida (Vida de 
Manuel Azana). Mexico City, 1961. 

This life of Azana is not objective, is excessively autobiographical, and 
contains numerous minute errors of fact and of typography, but it is the 
first book of its kind, though weak on Azana's early years (to age thirty- 

Rodriguez, Luis I. Ballet de sangre: La caida de Franda (2d ed.). Mexico 
City, 1942. 

Valuable material on the Republican exiles in France, including Azafia. 
Rojo, Vicente. lAlerta los pueblos! Buenos Aires, 1939. 

A source of information on the fall of Catalonia by the Republican 
general who was Chief of Staff. 

Rolfe, Edwin. The Lincoln Battalion. New York, 1939. 

Published by the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. 
Romanones, Conde de. Gbras completas. 3 vols. Madrid, 1949. 

Much twentieth-century history by an important political figure of the 

Sender, Ramon. Counter-Attack in Spain. Boston, 1937. 

Good material on the defense of Madrid by a great Spanish liberal, a 
widely known novelist and professor at the University of New Mexico. 

Sevilla Andres, Diego. Historia politica de la zona roja. Madrid, 1954, 

Typical Fascist view of the Republic: all red. Published by the Spanish 

Smith, Lois Elwyn, Mexico and the Spanish Republicans. Berkeley and 
Los Angeles, 1955. 

This documentation of Mexico's efforts to aid the Republic during the 
Civil War and to assimilate the Spanish exiles after the war shows the 
impact of the emigres upon Mexican politics and society from 1940 to 1955. 

Smith, Rhea Marsh. The Day of the Liberals in Spain. Philadelphia, 1938. 

This study is restricted to the formation and evolution of the 1931 Consti- 
tution. Scholarly, but contains some errors. 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Steer, G. L. The Tree of Gernika. London, 1938. 

An apologia for the Basques. One of the best books on the Civil War 
and the only good one on the fighting in the Basque provinces. War maps 
and photographs. 

Taylor, F. Jay. The United States and the Spanish Civil War. New York, 

Well documented. 
Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. New York, 1961. 

Because this history, a best-seller, may come to be considered the defini- 
tive work on the Spanish Civil War, it deserves more than just brief com- 
mentary. Thomas' 720-page political and military history is a masterpiece 
of organization, the first work of its kind to integrate in detail and with 
impartiality the views of the government and the war of both sides, and 
the second work (Madariaga's Spain was the first) to bring the chaos of 
the entire 1931-39 period into narrative order for readers of the English 
language. Reviews in the most prestigious newspapers and magazines 
lauded the authors literary style as well as his grandness of scope and his 
gift for synthesis. The book is a milestone let there be no mistake about 
that but the historian will see two obvious procedural faults: (1) the 
authors extensive reliance upon the facts and figures of Nationalist mili- 
tary operations as presented by the Francoist historians Lojendio, Aznar, 
and Villegas, whose lengthy military histories are largely state-subsidized 
works of sycophantic propaganda; and (2) the author's fondness for 
apocryphal anecdotes and undocumented conversations reconstructed from 
strictly hearsay evidence. Unfortunately the book contains numerous errors 
of fact and much questionable interpretation of facts. Pablo de Azcarate, 
one-time Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Nations and ambas- 
sador of the Republic to England during the Civil War, exhibited fifty- 
some such errors in the July 21, 1961, edition of Espana libre, a Spanish 
Left-wing newspaper of New York. Eventually both the Leftist and 
Rightist presses will cull and list publicly all the inaccuracies in this im- 
portant book which affect their point of view. Inasmuch as Thomas has 
dealt harshly and somewhat unfairly with Manuel Azana, I wish to take 
exception to the following (page numbers refer to Thomas' book) : 



Page 23. Though Azana did translate George Borrow, mentioned by 
the author, and, unmentioned, Gilbert Chesterton, Voltaire, Eugene Mont- 
fort, Jean Giraudoux, Blaise Cendrars, and others, I know of no transla- 
tion of Bertrand Russell or Stendhal. 

Page 24. The author says that Azafia was accused of being a homo- 
sexual: "There is a possibly apocryphal story which well illustrates his 
character. It was said that a journalist once asked Don Manuel how he 
had come to embark upon this sexual eccentricity. { ]ust like you/ replied 
Azafia, 'asking questions.' " If this anecdote is 'possibly apocryphal/' why 
print it in a history? Apocryphal or not, this story was told of the dramatist 
Jacinto Benavente, not of Azana. 

Page 24. Azana married at the age of forty-nine, not forty-six. 

Page 24. Azafia was secretary of the Ateneo, yes, but why omit the fact 
that he was also later its president? 

Page 25. This statement is doubly misleading: "A very hostile study 
is given by Arraras in his introduction to Azana's Memoirs." Naturally 
Arraras' study is hostile since it was published in Franco Spain in 1939 
expressly to discredit Azana and since Ararras edited only selected parts 
of the stolen portions of Azana's memoirs. 

Page 79. With reference to the October, 1934, revolution in Barcelona, 
the author admits that Azana was not a participant in the plot, but he 
continues: "On the other hand, I think Professor Peers is right in suggest- 
ing that Azafia was perfectly ready to accept the Presidency of a new 
federal Spain, if such a crown had been offered to him." This speculation 
is wholly unfair and not founded upon anything the legalistic and consti- 
tutional Azafia ever said or wrote or intimated. With further statements 
on pages 86 and 88, the author implicates Azana in the Barcelona affair 
by not fully exonerating him. All the evidence shows that Azana tried to 
prevent the Barcelona uprising rather than to condone it with his support 
or silence. 

Page 308. Azafia did not flee from Madrid in the autumn of 1936 
"without even telling the Cabinet." 

Page 308. Although Azafia did visit Montserrat during the Civil War, 
the author is wrong in affirming that he lived there, "conveniently far from 
likely aerial attack and conveniently near the French frontier in case of a 
general collapse." 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Page 352. Rather than doing nothing to prevent the execution of Jose 
Antonio Primo de Rivera, according to my information Azana did all he 
could unsuccessfully to prevent that execution. 

Page 619. "Azana died in 1940 in Aquitaine. The Bishop of Mon- 
tauban gave him supreme unction. The old anti-clerical thus returned in 
the end to the faith which he had so much attacked." Azana died in 1940 
in Montauban; that of his own volition he died in the arms of the church 
is by no means certain. 

Toryho, Jacinto. Despues de la tragedia: La traidon del senor Azana. New 
York, 1939. 

Impassioned and vitriolic. 
Trotsky, Leon. La revolution espanola. Madrid, 1931. 

Prophetic: the book was written almost three months before the procla- 
mation of the Republic. 

. The Spanish Revolution in Danger. Translated by Morris Lewitt 

New York, 1931. 

A guide for Spanish revolutionaries. 

. The Lessons of Spain the Last Warning. Colombo, Ceylon, 1956. 

Originally written in 1937. 

Explains the mistakes of the Spanish proletariat. Incisive, intuitive. 
Disparages Azana. 

Unamuno, Miguel de. "Anarchy in Spain," The Living Age (Boston), March, 
1934, pp. 22-24. 

On the fanaticism and destructiveness of the Anarchists. 

Villanueva, Francisco. Azana (el gobierno). Mexico City, n.d. (but post- 

Restricted to the period 1931-34. Generally sympathetic to Azana. 

Wallace, Lillian P., and Askew, William C. (eds.). Fewer, Public Opinion, 
and Diplomacy. Durham, North Carolina, 1959. 

Contains a notable essay on the policy of non-intervention by J. Bowyer 
Bell entitled Trench Reaction to the Spanish Civil War, July-September, 



Zugazagoitia, Julian. Historia de la gueira en Espana. Buenos Aires, 1940. 

Though its nearly six hundred pages are dense and poorly organized, 
this history of intrigue and conflict among the wartime Republican person- 
alities is invaluable. Many pages on Azana, to whom the author is gen- 
erally sympathetic. The author was one of the Republican Ministers 
executed by the victors. 



**A las puertas del otro mundo," 25, 241 
Abraham Lincoln Battalion, 179 
Academy of Jurisprudence, 13, 15 

Action Republican^ 40, 69, 83, 100, 111, 
113, 120, 122, 123, 124, 130 

"Accion 7 contemplation," 65 
Aguirre, Jose Antonio de, 173, 211, 216 
Ahora, 65, 68 
Alaiz, Felipe, 216 
Alarcon, Judge, 254, 258 
Alba, Santiago, 254, 257 
Albacete, 222 
Albania, 227 

Albornoz, Alvaro de, 72, 73 
Alcala, University of, 3 
Alcala de Henares, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 
12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 30n, 139n, 191n 

"Alcala Galiano," 251, 255, 258, 259 

Alcala Zamora, Niceto, 72, 73, 78, 79, 88, 
92, 93, 96, 102, 144, 155, 156, 157, 159 

Alfonso XII, 5 

Alfonso XIII, 13, 37, 39, 50, 62, 72, 76, 77, 
78, 79, 189, 259, 260 

Alfonso de Borbon, Prince, 79 

Alicante, 88 

Alps, the, 213 

Alsace-Lorraine, 22 
Alvarez, Melquiades, 16, 39 

Alvarez del Vayo, Julio, 47, 119, 182, 210, 
212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 218, 223 

Alvarez Ugena, 251, 255 

Anarchism, 122, 128, 143, 144, 145, 164, 
168, 171, 173, 174, 176, 198; see also 

Anarchist(s); see Anarchism 

Andersen, Hans Christian, 23 

Andre, Edgar, 152n 

Andres, 247, 248 

Antohgia negra, 54 

Anton Oneca, Judge, 252, 256 

Aragon, 174, 199 

Araquistain, Luis, 27, 47n 

Arcachon, 229, 230 

Argentina, 47, 75 

Arraras, Joaquin, 98n, 226 

Ascleyigenia, 54 

Assault Guards; see Guardias de Asalto 

Asturias, 134, 148 

Ateneo (of Madrid), 15, 16, 17, 27, 39, 
40, 46, 54, 57, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67, 
69-71, 80, I36n, 241 

Austria, 199 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

"Auto de las cortes de Burgos, o triple llave 

al sepulcro del Cid y divino zancarron," 

Autonomy, regional; see Catalonian Statute 

of Autonomy; see also Basque Statute of 

Avispa, La, 7 
Azana, Amparo de, 8 
Azana, Ana, 8 
Azana, Carlos, 7 
Azana, Carmen, 8 
Azana, Carmen de, 8 
Azana, Concepcion, 8, 9 
Azana, Cristina de, 8 
Azana, Dolores Rivas Cherif de, 16, 45, 46, 

51, 52, 53, 73, 74, 75, 118, 135, 160, 

176, 190, 191, 201, 210, 211, 217, 231, 

232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 238, 239, 242, 

243, 244, 245 
Azana, Enriqueta, 8 
Azana, Esteban, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 
Azana, Gregorio, 7, 8, 139, 191n, 244, 251, 


Azana, Gregorio, hijo (Jr.), 8 
Azana, Josef a (daughter o Gregorio 

Azana), 8 

Azana, Josefa (sister of Manuel Azana), 

9, 19 In 

Azana, Manuela, 8 
Azana. Combatiente en la paz. Pacifista en 

la guerra, 216 

Azana; Una vida al servicio de Espana, 137 
Azcarate, 13 
Aznar, Admiral Juan, 76 
Azorin, 59, 136 

Badajoz, 174 

Bakunin, MiHiail, 144 

"Ballet de sangre: La caida de Franda, 233n 

Balzac, Honore de, 136n, 236 

Baracaldo, 146 

Barata, La, 175 

"Barcaiztegui"; see "Sanchez BarcaizteguT 

Barcelona, 8, 38, 39, 46, 50, 77, 113, 119, 
130, 134, 135, 137, 139, 140, 170, 173, 
175, 176, 178, 184, 193, 197, 199, 200, 
201, 204, 209, 251, 252, 255, 256, 258, 
259; see also Revolt of October, 1934; 
Revolt of May, 1937 

Barcelona, University of, 67 

Barcelona Rebellion; see Revolt of October, 
1934; see also Revolt of May, 1937 

Barcia, Augusto, 253, 257 

Baroja, Carmen, 52 

Baroja, Pio, 29, 51, 52, 59, 126, 127, 189, 

Baroja, Ricardo, 52 

Barrancos, Finca de los; see Finca de los 


Barres, Maurice, 29 
Barrio de Salamanca, 27 
Barriobero, Eduardo, 86 
Basque Nationalists, 71 
Basque Statute of Autonomy, 86, 87, 133, 


Bayonne, 237 
Belgium, 146, 209 
Bello, Luis, 17, 47n, 252, 255 
Belmonte, Juan, 189 
Benavente, Jacinto, 29 
Benicarlo, 176, 192 
Berenguer, Damaso, 39, 74, 76, 78 
Bergamln, Jose, 27 

Besteiro, Julian, 83, 181, 222, 223, 224 
BiUe in Spain, The; see EiHia en Espana, 


BiUia en Espana, La, 24, 54, 55, 263-65 

Bienio Negro, 92, 149 

Bilbao, 123, 132, 146, 172, 173, 187 

"Bismarck/' 215 

Black Biennium; see Bienio Negro 

Blasco Ibanez, Sigfddo, 83 

Blasco Ibanez, Vicente, 83 

Blum, Leon, 188 



Bois-Juzan, Daniel de, 239 
Bologna, University of, 22 
Bordeaux, 227, 229, 230 
Borrow, George, 22, 24, 55, 136n, 263-65 
Bowers, Claude, 147n, 159, 160, 189, 230 

Brigades, International; see International 


Brisas de Henares, 12 
Britain; see England 
Buckley, Henry, 74, 147, 148, 152n 
Buenos Aires, 30, 53, 64, 136, 192 
Burgos 74, 218, 220, 223 

Caballero, General, 90 

Caciquismo, 17, 55 

Cadiz, 122 

Cafe Regina, 24, 47n 

Calderon de la Barca, Pedro, 56 

Calle de Alcala, 179 

Calle de Atocha, 40 

Calle de Coches, 12 

Calle de Columela, 75 

Calle de Don Esteban Azaiia, 4 

Calle de Hermosilla, 27, 53, 80 

Calle de la Lnagen, 9 

Calle de la Montera, 70 

Calle de Serrano, 80, 19 In 

Calle de Velazquez, 75 

CaUe del Prado, 70 

Calle del Principe, 117 

Calle Nueva, 4 

Calvo, Luis, 47 

Camp, Jean, 47, 192 

Campo de Comillas, 146, 147, 150 

Campo de Lasesarre, 146 

Campo de Mestalla, 145 

Campoamor, Clara, 84, 89 

Campoamor, Ramon de, 23 

Canary Islands, 64, 161n, 166 

Capitaine 7raeasse, Le, 23 

Capitania General, 175 

Carabanchel, 90, 113, 146 

Carcel Modelo, 168, 240 

"Cardenio," 24, 25 

Carmona, 224 

Carner Rorneu, Jaime, 135 

Carroza del Santisimo, La, 53 

Cartagena, 79, 88, 222 

Casa de Campo, 177 

Casa de Canonigos, 175 

Casa del Principe, 159, 174, 209 

Casado, Colonel Segismundo, 222, 223, 224 

Casanova de Seingalt, 59 

Casares Quiroga, Santiago, 72n, 73, 130, 


Casas Viejas, 122 
Casona, Alejandro, 136 
Cassou, Jean, 47 
Castelar, Emilia, 87 
Castillo, Lieutenant, 161 
Castillo de Perelada; see Perelada 
Castillo de San Fernando, 206, 208, 209 
Castro, Americo, 17, 136 
Catalonian Esquerra Party; see Esquerra 

Party, Catalonian 
Catalonian Statute of Autonomy, 67, 86, 87, 

112, 113, 119, 120, 133, 135, 173, 174, 


Catarineu, Concna de, 10 
CEDA, 137 

Celm qui fut Pedro Munoz, 238-40 
Cendrars, Blaise, 54 
Central Revolutionary Committee; see Junta 


Cervantes, Miguel de, 5, 6, 9, II, 64, 65 
"Cervantes y la invencion del Quijote," 64 
Cnamberlain, Neville, 201, 218 
GKapaprieta, Joaquin, 149 
Chesterton, Gilbert, 22 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

ad, EI, 25 

Cisneros, Cardinal, 3 

"Ciudad de Cadiz," 139, 251, 255 

Ciudad Real, 240 

Civil Guard; see Guardia Civil 

Claridad, 158 

CNT, 168, 172, 193 

Colegio Comphitense, 1 1 

Colegio para Obreros, 4 

Coles, S.F.A., 104, 236 

Collonges-sous-Saleve, 213, 219, 220, 224, 

Colon, Hotel, 252, 255 
Columbia University, 21 In 
Comin Colomer, Eduardo, 117, 118, 237 
Comintern, 128 
Commiinism, 71, 85, 117, 125, 144, 145, 

152, 153, 154, 161n, 171, 176, 178, 179, 

181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 196, 198, 200, 

202, 203, 204, 216, 219, 222, 223, 224 
Communist Party; see Communism 
Communist(s); see Communism 
Company of Jesus; see Jesuits 
Companys, Luis, 133, 134, 135, 142, 175, 

Complutense, 3, 4 
Complutum, 3 

Compluvium; see Complutum 
Comte, Auguste, 42 
Confederacion Espanola de Derechas Au- 

tonomas; see CEDA 
Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo: see 


Conrad, Joseph, 23 

"Constitution en busca de autor, Una," 58 
Constituent Parliament; see Cortes Consti- 


Constitution of 1873, Spanish, 87, 88 
Constitution of 1876, Spanish, 38, 76 
Constitution of 1917, Mexican, 84 
Constitution of 1931, Spanish, 68, 84, 85, 

86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 94, 97, 101, 104, 

108, 109, 111, 112, 114, 115, 116, 128, 
136, 137, 154, 155, 156, 157, 162, 202 
204, 206, 207, 221, 222, 249; Article 1: 
85, 86; Article 3: 85; Article 6: 85, 108; 
Article 7: 88; Article 8: 86; Article 11: 
86; Article 12: 86; Article 13: 87- 
Article 19: 87; Article 26: 44, 85, 89 
101; Article 36: 88; Article 46: 85, 88- 
Article 58: 88; Article 74: 221; Article 
76: 85, 157; Article 113: 85; Article 114- 

Convivio, II, 23 

Cordoba, 8, 32 

Corona, La, 44-52, 65, 110, 158, 211, 241 

Cortes, Hernan, 60 

Cortes, the, 19, 38, 46, 50, 61, 66, 67, 68, 
70, 76, 83, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 
94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 
104, 109, 110, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 
118, 119, 120, 122, 123, 124, 129, 130, 
131, 133, 134, 137, 138, 143, 144, 145, 
149, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 157, 161, 
165, 173, 183, 199, 201, 204, 206, 207, 
216, 220, 221, 222, 223, 231, 249, 253, 
256; see also Cortes Constituyentes 

Cortes Constituyentes, 66, 76, 83, 84, 86, 
88, 90, 124, 136, 194, 223 

Costa, Joaquin, 29, 59 

Costa Brava, 206 

Cot, Pierre, 188 

Council of Public Education, 66 

Crespo, Judge, 252, 256 

"Cristobal Colon," 209 

Cruz Salido, Francisco, 232 

Cuartel de la Montana; see Montana Bar- 

Cuba, 112,209 

Cuenca, 167 

"Curas oprimidos, Los," 58 

Cypresses Believe in God, The, 117 

Czechoslovakia, 201, 224 

Daladier, Edouard, 218 
Dana, Richard Henry, 23 
Daniek Cortis, 23 



Dante, 23 

Danzig, 224 

De la dictadura a la Republica, 78 

Deactivation Law, 105-7 

Declaration of the Rights of Man, 19 

Defectos de la Constitution de 1931, Los, 


Despues de la tragedia: La traition del senor 
anaj 216 

Diario of Manuel Azanaj see Memoirs of 

Manuel Azaiia 
Diaz, Josefina, 7, 10 
Diaz Cobena, Luis, 13 
Diaz Gallo, Josef a, 11 
Diez-Canedo, Enrique, 47, 70 
Direction General de los Registros, 15, 62 
Direction General de Seguridad, 79 
Discursos en campo abierto, 93, 145 
D'Olwer; see Nicolau d'Olwer, Luis 
Domenchina, Juan Jose, 166, 176 
Domingo, Marcelino, 72, 73, 130, 253, 257 
Don Qmjote, 4, 6, 9, 11, 24, 32, 49, 55, 

62, 64, 65, 136n, 177, 240, 247 
Dore, Gustave, 1 1 
Du Midi, Hotel, 233, 234, 237, 243 
Dultinea, 240, 250 
Duque de Rivas, 23, 31, 70 

Ebro offensive, 200, 201 

Echevairia, Juan, 47n 

Ejertito Popular; see Peoples* Army 

El Dueso, 232 

Emigration republieana espanola, La, 23 In 

En el poder y en la opposition, 93, 99 

"Enabling Act," 125 

England, 16, 149, 164, 181, 187, 188, 196, 

215, 218, 219, 220, 223, 230, 245 
Entremes del sereno f 45, 47 
Escorial, El, 11, 26, 41, 42, 44, 79, 160 
Espana, 26-29, 37, 47, 54, 58, 62, 64, 136n, 


Espina, Antonio, 47 
Espinosa, Antonio, 27, 225 
Esquerra Party, Catalonian, 153 

Estudios de politica francesa contempordnea, 

14, 16, 18, 19, 31, 59, 69 
European Movement Congress, 16 In 
European War; see World War II 
Existentialism, 59, 63 

FAI, 168; see also Anarchism 

Falange, 108, 125, 128, 171, 228; see also 

Falange: A History of Spanish Fascism, 


Fantasias, 25 
Fascism, 68, 108, 125, 128, 129, 130, 134, 

137, 140, 159, 160, 161n, 165, 168, 173, 

186, 188; see also Falange 

Fascist(s); see Fascism 

Federation de Anarquistas Ibericosj see FAI 

Fedra, 24 

"Fenix de las Espanas, El," 29 

Fernandez Almagro, Melchor, 47 

Fernando HI, 25 

Femsworth, Lawrence, 154, 165, 166, 186, 

Figueras, 204, 206, 208, 209, 213 

Finca de los Barrancos, 7 

Fioretti, 23 

First Spanish Republic, 6, 88, 156 

First World War; see World War I 

Fogazzaro, Antonio, 23 

Forf a de los suenos, La, 8 

Foscolo, Ugo, 23 

France, 16, 17, 18, 59, 64, 69, 72, 74, 79, 
149, 171, 174, 175, 187, 188, 191, 192, 
196, 199n, 201, 204, 206, 207, 208, 209, 
210, 212, 215, 217, 218, 219, 220, 224, 
228, 229, 230, 232, 233, 235, 239, 243, 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Franco, Francisco, 71, 105, 106, 116, 126, 
134, 135n, 161n, 162, 166, 167, 173, 
174, 187, 188, 197, 199, 200, 203, 206n, 
208, 216, 217, 218, 220, 223, 226, 228n, 
230, 231, 232n, 233, 235, 236, 243, 248, 

Franco of Spain, 104, 236 

freedoms Bottle, 215n 

Freemasonry, 116-18,238 

French Revolution, 18, 19, 170 

Frente Popular, 68, 92, 117, 127, 141, 144, 
145, 147, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155, 185, 

Fresco, Mauricio, 23 In 

fresdeval, 30, 76, 242 

Front Populaire, 188 

Fuente, Sindulfo de la, 47n, 74, 75, 176 

Fuerteventura, 64, 16 In 

Galarza, Angel, 98 

"Galiano"; see "Alcald Galiano" 

Ganivet, Angel, 29, 58-61 

Garcia Bilbao, Luis, 47n 

Garcia Blanco, Manuel, 61 

Garcia Lorca, Federico, 24, 136 

Garcia Pradas, J., 217 

Garcia Prieto, Manuel, 38 

Garden of the Monks, TJte; see Jardin de 

los frailes, El 

Gasset Alzugaray, Ricardo, 231 
Gassol, Ventura, 66 
Gautier, TKeophile, 23 
General Workers' Union; see UGT 
Generalidad; see Parliament, Catalonian 
Generation of 1898, 59, 63 
Geneva, 151, 209, 213, 214, 218, 225, 226, 

227, 229 
George VI, 181 
Germany, 17, 18, 29, 88, 107, 108, 125, 

129, 184, 187, 188, 192, 215, 224, 227, 

Gerona, 133, 201, 204 

Gestapo, 191n, 230, 231 

Gibraltar, 129 

Gijon, 197 

Gil Robles, Jos6 Maria, 137, 161 

Gimenez Caballero, Ernesto, 129 

Giner de los Rios, Francisco, 13, 224 

Giral Pereira, Jose", 40, 181, 188, 210, 211. 

Giraudoux, Jean, 22 
Gironella, Jose Maria, 117 
Coded, General Manuel, 90, 106, 166 
Goldoni, Carlo, 22 
Gomez de la Serna, Ramon, 24, 27 
Goya, Francisco de, 146, 160 
Granada, 189 

Grand Hotel du Midi; see Du Midi, Hotel 
Grandezas y miserias de la yolitka, 132, 164 
Great Britain; see England 
Great Crusade, The, 152n 
Guadalajara, 3, 223 

Guardia Civil, 77, 106, 107, 122, 139, 147 
Guaraas de Asalto, 106, 122, 161 
Guerra civil, 217, 218 
Guillen, Jorge, 24, 27 
Gutierrez, Ricardo, 47n 
Guzmn, Martin Luis, 47n, 75, 76 

Hegel, Georg Wilhdm Friedrich, 42 

Hemingway, Ernest, 179, 186 

Henares river, 4 

Hendaye, 64, 72 

Henry, Jules, 213 

Hemdndez Sarabia, General Juan, 80, 199n, 

214, 234, 243, 244n 
Hilton, Ronald, 59 
Himno de Riego, 178 
Hispanic Society o America, 5n, 189, 190, 

Historia de Alcald de Henares (antigua 

Compluto), 4 
Historia de la guerra en E$$ana> 203n 



Historfa secrete d* U Seg&nda Reytitilka, 

Hider, Adolf, 40, 107, 108, 125, 129, 199, 

201, 224 
Holland, 146 
Homage to Catalonia, 186 
Hombre con las manos en los looWlos, El, 

Home Rule; see Catalonian Statute of 

Autonomy; see also Basque Statute of 


Horas del cautiverio, 73 
Huesca, 174 
Huntington, Archer M., 189, 191 

Ibfauri, Dolores, 195, 222n 

Iberian Anarchist Federation; see FAI 

lUrica, 84, 232n 

"Idearium de Ganivet, El," 58-61, 194 

Idearium esyanol, 58-6J, 194 

Iglesias, Judge, 252, 256 

Iglesias, Pablo, 179, 224 

Impartial, El, 17 

Inquisition, die, 66 

Institute of Comparative Law, 15 

Institute del Cardenal Cisneros, 1 1 

"Inteligencia y el caracter en la acci6n 
politica,La, 55 

International Brigades, I52n, 173, 177, 178, 
179, 185; see also Abraham Lincoln Bat- 

Internationale, die, 178 

Invention del Quijote, La, 49 

Invention del Quijote y otros ensayos, La, 
24, 32, 64, 136n 

Mn, 145, 173, 174, 181, 232 

Isabel deBorbdn, 189 

Islam, 26 

Italy, 17, 79, 108, 125, 129, 159, 160, 184, 
187, 188, 202, 227, 249 

Izquierda Republicans, 130, 131, 132, 143, 
150, 152, 153 

Jaca Revolt, 72-73, 142 

Jardin de los fraiks, H, 24, 25, 33, 40-45, 

Jellinek, Frank, 147n 
Jesuits, 101, 115, 116, 118 
Jimenez, Juan Ramon, 24, 27, 136 
Jimenez Asua, Luis, 222n 
Juan de Borbon, Prince, 79 
Junta de Ampliation de Estudios, 15 
Junta de Del ensa de Madrid, 223 
Junta Revolucionaria, 40, 72, 73, 76, 78 
Juventud RepubHcana. Espanola (JJLE.)r 


Kant, Immanuel, 42 
Kent, Victoria, 73, 84, 89, 195, 218 
Kluckhohn, Frank L, 96, 97, 99, 104 
Kremlin, the, 154 


La Bajol, 206, 209, 210, 211, 212 

La Coruna, 83 

La Junquera, 206 

La Mancha, 247 

"La Pasionaria"; see Ibdrruri, Dolores 

La Pluma; see Pluma, La 

La Rochefoucauld, Francois, due de, 23 

La Vajol; see La Bajol 

Laguardia, Ramon, 9, 19 In 

Largo Caballero, Francisco, 72, 73, 93, 133, 

134, 142, 153, 158, 159, 176, 181, 182, 

199n, 204 

Last Days of Madrid, The, 223 
Last Optimist, The, 215n 
Law for the Defense of the Republic, 97, 

103, 110, 128 
Le Havre, 64, 209 
Le Perthus, 204, 208, 210, 212, 214 
League of Nations, 88, 150, 151, 187, 225 

The Tragedy of Manuel Azana 

Lecea, 252, 256 

Le6n, 83 

Lerroux, Alejandro, 26, 72, 93, 96, 97, 114, 

122, 123, 124, 130, 134n, 135, 137, 149, 


Les Hies, 211, 212 
Lespinasse, Mile, de, 22 
Lessons of S$ainthe Last Waming f The, 

Ley de Defensa de la Republica; see Law 

for the Defense of the Republic 
Ley de Retires; see Deactivation Law 
Liberal, El, 17 

Libertad de asodad6n } La, 13 
Life and Death of the Spanish Republic, 

74, 147 

Lincoln Battalion; see Abraham Lincoln Bat- 
"Lion, Don Quijote, and the Lion Keeper, 

The," 62 

Uokegat river, 206 
Ouhi, Juan, 253, 257 
Locandiera, La, 23 
London, 79, 181, 226, 245 
London Times, 147n, 165, 245 
Lopez Mezquita, Jose Maria, 53, 189, 190, 


Lorca (Murcia), 8 
Lourdes, 237 
Lyceum, the, 64 

Machado, Antonio, 24 

Madariaga, Salvador de, 24, 27, 66, 83, 85, 
134, 161, 163n, 175,248 

"Madrid," 58 

Madrid, 8, 13, 15, 16, 17, 23, 27, 30n, 39, 
44, 46, 50, 52, 53, 54, 58, 69, 72, 73, 
74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 83, 90, 96, 107, 124, 
125, 126, 130, 131, 134, 135n, 136, 138, 
143, 146, 152n, 161n, 166, 170, 171, 
172, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 
181, 182, 184, 185, 191n, 197, 209, 214, 
215, 222, 223, 224, 232, 253, 257, 258n 

Madrid, University of, 4, 12, 40, 172, 177, 


Majorca, 166, 174 
Malaga, 187 

Malraux, Andre, 143, 152n, 172 
Mangada, Lieutenant Colonel, 90, 167 
Man's Hope, 143, 152n, 172 
Manzanares river, 146, 177 
Maranon, Gregorio, 47n, 78, 136, 175 
March, Juan, 135 
Maria Cristina, 5 
"Mariano Alcaniz," 75 
Marquina, Eduardo, 136 
Marseilles, 79 
"Martin Pinel," 16 
Martinez Azana, Manuel, 8 
Martinez Barrio, Diego, 72n, 141, 143, 157, 

206, 210, 211, 216, 219, 220, 221, 222 

Marx, Karl, 85, 97, 123, 144, 179 

Marxist Unified Worker Party; see POUM 

Masonic Order; see Freemasonry 

Masonry; see Freemasonry 

Masquelet, General Carlos, 159 

Matthews, Herbert, 182, 186, 207, 222 

Maura, Antonio, 112, 254, 257 

Maura, Miguel, 72, 73, 76, 78 

"Maura no/' 254, 257 

Maurin, Joaquin, 128 

Medea, 65 

Mem Kamyf, 40 

Memoirs of Manuel Azana, 30n, 65, 66, 90, 

Memoria de los acuerdos del litre, ayunta- 
miento de la dudad de Alcald de Henares 
fora la erection de un monumento a 
Miguel de, Cervantes Saavedra, 5 

Memorias intimas de Azana, 226; see also 
Memoirs of Manuel Azana 

Memorias of Manuel Azana; see Memoirs of 

Manuel Azana 
Mena, Colonel Arturo, 233 



Mene"ndez Pidal, Ram6n, 17 

Merida, 65 

Merimee, Prosper, 53 

Mexico, 30, 47, 75, 84, 119, 187, 190, 191, 

209, 217, 231, 232, 233, 238, 239, 244 
Mexico and the Spanish Republicans, 23 In 
Mexico City, 53, 118, 137, 190, 191, 218n, 

222, 226n, 232, 244n 
Mi rebelion en Barcelona, 135, 140 
Miaja, General Jose, 177, 222, 223 
Midi; see Du Midi, Hotel 
Military Union, Spanish; see Union Militar 


Ministerio de la Gobernacion, 79 
Ministerio de la Guerra, 80 
Mido Blanco, H, 5 1,52 
Model Prison; see Cdrcel Modelo 
Mola Vidal, General Emilio, 107, 108, 166 
Montana Barracks, 170 
Montauban, 230, 231, 232, 233, 237, 244 
Montpellier, 213 
Montserrat, 176, 199 
Moors, 25, 26, 38, 55 
Mora, Constancia de la, 147n 
Morocco, Spanish, 25, 37, 38, 105, 111, 

162, 166 

Moscardo, General JosS, 172 
Moscow, 129, 154, 168, 182, 204, 230 
"Motivos de la gemanofilia, Los,** 17 
Munich, 161n, 187 
Munoz, Pedroj see Celui qui fat Pedro 


Murcia, 88, 191n 

Museo del Prado; see Prado Museum 
Mussolini, Benito, 96, 129, 159 
My Mission to Spam, 159, 160 

Napoleon, 69 

National Federation o Labor; see GNT 
National Palace; see Palacio de Qriente 
National Prize of literature, 30 

National Republican Party; see Paxtxdo 

Nacional Republicano 
Navarra, 166 
Negrin, Juan, 179, 182-84, 185, 197, 199, 

202, 203, 204, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 

211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 219, 221, 

222, 223, 226, 227, 230, 248 
New York, 189, 190, 21 In 
New York Times, 96, 97, 104, 147n, 214 
Nicolau d'Olwer, Luis, 72n, 73 
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 108 
Nimes, 213 

Non-intervention, 187-89, 196 
NosotroSj 30 

Novela de Pefita Jimenez* La, 31 
"Nuevos partidos, libertades viejas," 28 

Origenes del Frente Popular espanol, 141n 

Ortega y Gasset, Eduardo, 73 

Ortega y Gasset, Jose, 26, 83, 175, 249 

Orwell, George, 186 

Ossorio y Gallardo, Angel, 73, 116, 119, 

136-39, 165, 168, 211, 212, 251-58 
Osuna, Duke of, 30 
Oviedo, 83, 134 
Oviedo, University of, 134 

Pact of San Sebasti&o, 72, 79, 81, 87, 141 

Palacio de Buenavista, 80 

Palacio de Comunicaciones, 77 

Palacio de Qriente, 63, 159, 174 

Palencia, Isabel de, 232n, 245n 

Pamplona, 127, 166 

Paradox, Rey, 29 

Paradox, Silvestre, 240 

Pardo, El, 159, 160 

Paxdo Bazn, Emilia, 71 

Paris, 15, 16, 22, 39, 53, 64, 73, 79, 146, 

188, 199, 200, 209, 211, 213, 214, 215, 



The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

Parliament, Catalonian, 113, 133, 175, 193, 

201, 252, 255 
Parliament, Constituent; see Cortes Consti- 


Parliament, Spanish; see Cortes 
Partidb National Republicano, 143 
Partido Obrero Unificado Marxista; see 


Partido Reformista, 16, 17, 18, 39 
Posada, Azana y el porvenir, El, 107, 108 
Pascua, Marcelino, 215 
"Paseante en Corte, El," 24 
'Tasionaria, La"; see Ibdrruri, Dolores 
"Patria, Religion, Monarquia," 39 
Pau, 74, 234 
Payne, Stanley G,, 228n 
"Paz, Piedad y Perdon," 202, 208 
Pedro Munoz; see Celui qui fut Pedro 


Peoples' Army, 178, 185, 187 
Pepita Jimenez, 31, 33, 34, 48 
Pequena historic, La, 134n 
Perelada, 206, 209, 210 
P&ez de Ayala, Eam6n, 24, 70, 83, 175, 


Perez Salas, Colonel Jesus, 166, 167 
Perigueux, 230 
Perpignan, 211, 212, 213, 227 
Petain, Marshal H.P., 231 
Pi y Margall, Francisco, 87 
Pirandello, Luigi, 58, 65 
Plaza de Cervantes, 4 
Plaza de Espana, 177 
Plaza de la Republica, 113 
Plaza de San Julian, 11 
Plaza de Santa Ana, 46 
Pluma, La, 23-26, 27, 28, 29, 40, 47, 50, 

54, 58, 62, 136n, 166n, 227, 241 
Plumas y palabras, 24, 25, 54-62 
Poland, 224, 227 
PoI&M, Una, 93 

Political bosses; see Cadquismo 

Politics, Economics, and Men of Modern 

S^ain, 20, 32, 33, 34, 35, 147n 
Popular Front; see Frente Popular; see also 

Front Populaire 
Portela, Manuel, 153 
Portugal, 174, 187 
Posada, Adolf o, 13 
POUM, 193 
Pozas, General, 252, 255 
Prado Museum, 209 
Presente y futuw de la Revdblica Esvanola, 

Prieto, Indalecio, 72, 73, 123, 135, 155, 

157, 159, 167, 168, 176, 182, 183, 204, 


Primo de Rivera, Jos4 Antonio, 125 
Primo de Rivera, Miguel, 27, 37-39, 45, 

46, 50, 64, 76, 125, 160, 248, 250 
"Principe Alfonso," 79 
Provisional Government, 72, 73, 76, 79 
Prussia, East, 224 
Pyla-sur-Mer, 229, 230, 232 

Queipo de Llano, General Gonzalo, 250 
Quere"taro Constitution; see Constitution of 

1917, Mexican 
Quotidien, Le, 64 

Radical Party, 94 

Ramos Oliveira, Antonio, 20, 32, 33, 34, 

35, 147n 
Rebellion of May, 1937j see Revolt of May, 

Rebellion of October, 1934; see Revolt of 

October, 1934 

Reformist Party; see Partido Reformista 
Registry Office; see Direcci6n General de los 

Regler, Gustav, 152n 



Republic, First Spanish; sec First Spanish 

Republican Action Party; see Action Re- 

Republican Constitution; see Constitution 

of 1931, Spanish 
Republican Left Party; see Izquierda Re- 

Republican National Party; see Partido 

Nacional Republicano 
Republican Union Party; see Uni6n Re- 


"Resistir, resistir, resistir," 202 
Retiros, Ley de; see Deactivation Law 
Retrato de un desconorido, 244n 
Revolt of May, 1937, 170, 175, 192, 193, 

Revolt of October, 1934, 66, 109, 13440, 

149, 251-60 

Revolution, French; see French Revolution 
Revolutionary Committee; see Junta Revo- 

Reyes, Alfonso, 24 
Rios, Blanca de los, 71 
Rios, Fernando de los, 72, 73, 135 
Riquelme, General Jos6, 233 
Rite, Hotel, 52 
Rivas, Duque de; see Duque de Rivas 

Rivas Cherif, Cipriano, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 
26, 27, 40, 46, 47n, 48, 51, 53, 61, 67, 
73, 74, 75, 76, 135, 140, 147n, 160, 209, 
210, 211, 213, 214, 218, 224, 225, 226, 
227, 229, 230, 231, 232, 234, 242n, 243, 

Rivas Cherif, Dolores; see Azana, Dolores 
Rivas Cherif de 

Rivas Cherif, Enrique, 219 

Rodriguez, Luis I., 231, 232, 233, 234, 
238, 245 

Rojo, General Vicente, 172, 210 

Rolfe, Edwin, 179 

Romanones, Conde de, 29, 62, 63, 76, 78 

Rome, 79, 243 

Roosevelt, FranMin D., 189, 245 
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 19 
Rusinol, Santiago, 17 

Russia, 30, 101, 154, 177, 178, 179, 182, 

St Francis of Assisi, 23 

Salamanca, 68, 83 

Salamanca, University of, 61, 67, 68; Casa 

Rectoral, 61 
Salinas, Pedro, 24, 27 
Salmeron, Nicolas, 87 

Salvador, Am6s, 23, 47n, 75, 227, 253, 257 
"Salvador Rodrigo," 12 
San Fernando, Castillo de; see Castillo de 

San Fernando 
San Hilario, 133 
San Jeronimo, Church of, 52 
San Pedro, parish of, 10 
San Sebastian, 71, 72, 74, 173 
San Sebastian, Pact of; see Pact of San 


"Sdnchez Barcaiztegui,** 138 
Sanchez Roman, Felipe, 143, 253, 257 
Sancho Panza, 177, 250 
Sanjurjo, General Jose, 77, 90, 114, 115, 

139, 166 

Sant Hilari; see San Hilario 
Santa Teresa, 60, 240 
Santander, 119, 160, 197,232 
Second World War; see World War H 
"Secreto de VaUe Indan, El," 24, 136n 
Sender, Ramon, 59 
Seneca, 65 

"Senequismo,** 60, 61 
Serena, EntrenUs del; see Entremes dd 


Sevffla, 77, 114, 250 
Sheean, Vincent, 186 
"Si el alarbe tomase vencedor,** 25 


The Tragedy of Manuel Azafia 

Silvestre Paradox; see Paradox, Silvestre 
Situation econ6mica del Ateneo de Madrid, 

La, 16 

Smith, Lois E., 23 In 
Smouldering Freedom: Tine Story of ike 

Spanish Republicans in Exile, 232n, 245n 
"Socialismo politico espanol, El," 62 
Socialist Party, 83, 84, 85, 114, 120, 123, 

127, 133, 144, 152, 153, 155, 158, 179, 

182, 188, 223 
Socialist^ El, 203 
Soeur Ignace, 242, 243, 244n 
Sol, El, 47, 78, 84, 250 
Sorbonne, The, 15 

Spain: A Modern History, 134n, 161, 163n 
Seam's Struggle for Freedom, 154n, 228 
Spanish-American War, 29 
Spanish Civil War, The, 163n, 278-80 
Spanish Earth, 179 

Spanish Revolution in Danger, The, 129 
Stael-Holstein, Germaine de, 136n 
Statute of Autonomy; see Catalonian Statute 

o Autonomy; see also Basque Statute of 

Steer, G. L, 186 
Straperlo scandal, 147, 149, 150 
Strasbourg, University of, 22 
"Suitidio de Pedro Crespo," 28 
Swift, Jonathan, 50 
Switzerland, 209, 213, 214, 227, 228 

Talavera de la Reina, 181 
Tarbes, 237 
Tarragona, 26, 200 
Tarrasa, 175, 210 
Teatro Calderon, 73 
Teatro Cervantes, 167 
'Teatro de Galdos, El," 136n 
Teatro Espanol, 46, 47 
Teatro Goya (Barcelona), 46 
Teatro Goya (Madrid), 8 

Teatro Maipo, 53 

Teatro-Salon Cervantes, 16 

Terael, 199 

Theas, Bishop Pierre Marie, 236-38, 242, 

243, 244n 
Third Reich, 125 
Thirteen Points, 204 
Thomas, Hugh, 163n, 278-80 
Three Points, 207, 208 
Times; see New York Times; see also 

London Times 
Tirano Banderas, 239 
Toledo, 17, 104, 171, 172, 226 
Torrejon, 3 

Torres Bodet, Jaime, 27 
Toryho, Jacinto, 216, 217 
Toulouse, 19 In, 212, 227, 230 
Tree of Gemika, The, 186 
"Tres generaciones del Ateneo," 136n 
Tribunal de Garantias; see Tribunal of 

Constitutional Guarantees 
Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees, 133, 

252, 256 

Trotsky, Leon, 129, 154, 155 
'Turdenie," 240 
Turdetania, 240 
Two Years before the Mast, 23 

UGT, 172, 182 

Ultime Uttere di Jacopo Ortis, 23 

Unamuno, Felisa de, 61 

Unamuno, Miguel de, 17, 24, 26, 27, 28, 

31, 39, 42, 45, 59, 60, 61-69, 70, 83, 

101,112, 161n, 189 

Uni6n General de Trabajadores; see UGT 
Union Militar Espaiiola (U.M.E.), 108 
Union Republicana, 71, 143 
United States of America, 12, 16, 73, 87, 

97, 99, 102, 112, 117, 142, 159, 163n, 

164, 179, 187, 189, 201, 230, 245 



Universidad Central; see Madrid, University 

Universidad Complutense; see Alcala, Uni- 
versity of 

University City; see Madrid, University of 

"Uruguay," 25 1,255 

Uruguay, 47 

U.S.S.R.; see Russia 

Valencia, 8, 77, 84, 88, 95, 111, 145, 173, 

175, 176, 179, 180, 189, 191n, 197, 209, 


Valencia, University of, 187 
"Valera," 136n 
Valera, Carmen, 30, 31 
Valera, Juan, 30-35, 48, 54, 136n 
Valera en Italia: Amores, yolitica y litera- 

tura, 31 

'Valera en Rusia," 30 
ValladoHd, 53, 75, 120, 121 
Valle Inclan, Ramon del, 24, 27, 47n, 51, 

52, 59, 67, 69, 83, 136, 239 
"Vanidad y la envidia, La/* 29 
Vargas, Pedro, 258, 259 
Vatican, the, 102, 243 
Veillee d Benicarlo, La, 192; see also Velada 

en BenicarU, La 
Velada en BenkarU, La, 55, 98, 164, 170, 

192-97, 224 
Vera de Bidasoa, 127 
Verga, Giovanni, 23 

Verne, Jules, 10 

"Vicario de Duron, El," 12 

Vicario Sanz, Jose Maria, 11, 12, 14, 15 

Vicny,231, 233, 234,245 

Vila de Don Juan Valera, 30, 31, 35 

Vida y sacrifido de Companys, 212 

Vffldba de los Alcores, 53 

Villegas, General Rafael, 90 


Viriato, 74 

Voltaire, 22, 44 

Volunteer for Liberty, The, 178, 179 

Washington, 84 

Weimar Republic, 84, 107, 125 

Where Dreams Are Forged, 9 

Wilson, Woodrow, 29 

World War I, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 63 

World War H, 191, 192, 196, 215, 227, 

Xirgu, Margarita, 46, 47, 65 
Y sucedi6 a$i, . . . , 78 

Zaragoza,7, 11, 139, 174 

Zugazagoitia, Julian, 203, 21 In, 221, 232 

Zuloaga, Ignacio, 160 

Zulueta, Luis de, 253, 257 

Zurich, 184 


(continued """'?.v 

he succeede . :y. He continued in 

this capacit; ''ivil War, resign- 

ing only af 'rrevocably lost 

in February . : been forced . 

to flee to France, ,,,';:._,. ... following 

year, the man most hated by ^~ ^us and ; 

victorious leaders of the Right. 

In addition to providing a full treatment 
of the tragedy of a man who failed to instil 
in others his own clear vision of a new Spain, 
Mr. Sedwick offers an unbiased interpretation; 
of the Civil War that consumed the Republic 
Azafia led, and furnishes a number of clues 
that may help in answering that persistent ques- 
tion: Did Franco and the Nationalists kill Span- 
ish democracy or did they save Spain from 

Frank Sedwick is professor of Spanish language 
and literature at Rollins College. He has written 
on a wide range of topics, from Unamuno to 
Italian opera, and is the author of three text-' 
books and the forthcoming History of the "Use-- 
less Precaution" Plot in Spanish and French 

1 34 935